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Stored pressure near-miss: Buckle detector expelled from pipe during recovery

A member has reported a near miss incident in which a buckle detector tool was expelled from a pipeline under pressure and landed approximately 2m away. The incident occurred during retrieval of the buckle detector (BD), which weighed approximately 25 kg. The buckle detector came close to two crew members. Had either of them been struck by the tool as it ejected, it could have caused significant injuries.

Trajectory of BD and point of impact on railings
Trajectory of BD and point of impact on railings
25kg buckle detector
25kg buckle detector

Our member’s investigation revealed the following:

  • Back pressure on the buckle detector had not been identified as a risk during the job risk assessment (JRA);
  • The task plan did not identify appropriate barriers required for the job;
  • The procedure for use of the buckle detector was not risk assessed at the hazard identification and risk assessment (HIRA) stage of the project.

The actions were:

  • An ‘all stop’ on buckle detector launch and recovery activities followed by .time out for safety. with all personnel
  • An updated task plan to:
    • ensure ‘no go’ areas are fully documented
    • show means of preventing future recurrence by using a double wrapped sling on the pipe attached to a shackle on the buckle detector cable;
  • Ensure plans available of where barriers should be installed to keep people out of the ‘line of fire’ when conducting launch and recovery of buckle detector;
  • Consider revision of hazard identification and risk assessment (HIRA) and job risk analysis (JRA) for pipe buckle detection work;
  • Consider pipe back pressure as a risk;
  • Ensure future buckle detection task plans include clear instructions on where to install barriers;
  • Identify other means of launching buckle detector, such as crawler systems which do not require pressurised air.

Members may wish to refer to the following incident (search words: pipe, plug):

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