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IMCA Safety Flash 16/09

November 16, 2009

Near Miss: Unexpected Lowering of a Suspended Load

A member has reported an incident in which there was an unexpected lowering of a suspended load during a lifting operation which had the potential to cause significant injury. During maintenance of an ROV winch system, a yoke was being supported in position by a shore crane to allow a specific task to be conducted. The shore-side crane was provided by the port authority which had sub-contracted it in, along with a rigging team from the port authority. As the end of the working day approached, the crane operator sounded the crane horn to indicate that time was running out. The vessel team agreed with the banksman that all persons would work for an extra thirty minutes to complete the task. However, this agreement was not communicated to the crane driver. Five minutes later the crane operator sounded the horn again as he wished to lower the load. The vessel team and banksman gave little acknowledgement to this. Shortly after this the crane operator lowered the load and shut down the crane as his working day was over.

A member has reported an incident in which there was an unexpected lowering of a suspended load during a lifting operation which had the potential to cause significant injury. During maintenance of an ROV winch system, a yoke was being supported in position by a shore crane to allow a specific task to be conducted.

The shore-side crane was provided by the port authority which had sub-contracted it in, along with a rigging team from the port authority. As the end of the working day approached, the crane operator sounded the crane horn to indicate that time was running out. The vessel team agreed with the banksman that all persons would work for an extra thirty minutes to complete the task. However, this agreement was not communicated to the crane driver. Five minutes later the crane operator sounded the horn again as he wished to lower the load. The vessel team and banksman gave little acknowledgement to this. Shortly after this the crane operator lowered the load and shut down the crane as his working day was over.

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Near Miss: Loss of a Small Crane (‘Cherry Picker’) Wire

A member has reported an incident in which a crane winch wire was lost during light subsea lifting work. The winch wire and the load dropped on to the seabed near to working divers.

A small crane, sometimes referred to offshore as a ‘cherry picker’, was being used to deploy a small tool basket to a diver working on a subsea manifold. It had been identified on the previous shift there was insufficient wire on the crane winch drum to reach the seabed; however there was sufficient winch wire to reach the roof of the manifold. The deck crew and dive supervisors had been briefed by the previous shift regarding the short length of wire.

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Hand Injury: Injection of Hydraulic Fluid

IMCA has received information about a hand injury caused by leaking pressurised hydraulic fluid on a drilling rig. A person was searching for the source of a small hydraulic leak. The leak was located and a request made for the hydraulic pump to be shut down so that the damaged hose could be replaced. The pump was duly shut down. Then the person involved placed his index finger (whilst wearing double gloves) over the damaged spot on the hose so as not to lose the location of the leak.

The person involved was unaware that hydraulic pressure remained on the system following shut down of the pump and that this pressure had actually increased for around two seconds after the pump shut down (owing to back pressure). Hydraulic fluid burst through the damaged spot on the hose and was injected through the double gloves into the person’s index finger.

Surgery was required to find and remove the injected oil from the finger and hand of the person.

This incident serves as a timely reminder to maintain vigilance and awareness of the very serious potential hazards and risks associated with working with pressurised hydraulic fluid.

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Tumble Dryer Fire Onboard a Vessel

A member has reported an incident in which there was a small fire inside the drum of a tumble dryer on a vessel offshore. A burning smell was detected on the bridge of the vessel concerned and an investigation into the source was commenced. It was traced to the laundry where a small fire in the drum of a tumble dryer was observed. The fire was extinguished and the dryer contents removed and doused to cool.

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Bell Bottom Door Hydraulic Operating System Failure

A member has reported the failure of a bell bottom door hydraulic operating system. The failure occurred while carrying out standard bell recovery operations using the port dive bell on a twin bell system.

While attempting to close the dive bell bottom door, it was noted that the bottom door did not fully close and that the bottom door had castellated. Further attempts were made to close the door fully which exacerbated the situation, resulting in the bottom hatch being jammed more solidly.

The divers carried out an internal dive bell inspection and found that the hydraulic control system had failed due to hydraulic system oil loss.

Several unsuccessful attempts to rotate the bottom door were made including topping up the hydraulic oil system tank and also removing sections of the internal hydraulic operating pipework in an attempt to rotate the bottom hatch manually.

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Near Miss: ROV Fuse Bolt Failure

A member has reported an incident in which a crew member was narrowly missed by the head of a fuse bolt which had been shot out of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) manipulator arm at high speed. It occurred as normal pre-dive checks were being completed on the ROV. The manipulator arm being tested was cycled and, during the test, the fuse bolt securing the jaws of the manipulator failed. This caused the head of the bolt to shoot out of the manipulator arm at high speed. The head of the bolt passed close to an ROV technician who could have been severely injured had it hit him. There were no injuries.

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Schilling Safety Bulletin

Affected products: All Rigmaster, Conan, and Orion slave arms and manipulator systems, Tital Manipulator Systems.

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