Open manholes and displaced gratings pose considerable hazards to crew on offshore installations as evidenced by two recent incidents reported by the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
The first incident involved a night-time production operator on a fixed facility who was found to be missing from the platform during morning rounds. The personnel onboard noticed a section of grating displaced in the upright position with the missing person’s hardhat and clipboard next to the grating. It is thought that prior to the incident the deck area was taped off with red “DANGER” tape but was not hard barricaded to prevent a flow of personnel.
In the second incident a crew member had completed work on a well which was properly barricaded. At nighttime two employees went to replace the well access hatch cover over the well on the drill deck. It appears that each of the two employees inadvertently picked up the wrong hatch cover (identified in the second photograph below with a red arrow). Each employee grabbed one handle of the cover, which was the same color as the deck and had no well identifying information on it. This action unknowingly created an open hole; and as the employees moved the hatch, one of the employees stepped and fell through the hole to the deck below.
Warning and recommendations
In a safety alert of 4 June 2019 the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has issued a warning to all offshore operators and contractors to inspect their facilities and communicate the associated hazards to all personnel.
Additionally, the BSEE recommends that operators consider the following:
Members and clients operating offshore facilities are advised to follow the recommendations and safety warning issued by the BSEE and keep their facility in a clean and orderly condition to reduce the chance of injury through slips, trips and falls.
Other relevant sources of information: