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Audits of evacuation arrangements

Between June and October 2017, we conducted audits of arrangements for evacuation from facilities at Point Resources, Aker BP and ConocoPhillips.


Objective
The objective of the audits was to verify that technical, organisational and operational conditions associated with the evacuation barrier function for the individual facilities had been established and maintained in compliance with applicable regulations, such that personnel on the facilities can at all times be rapidly and efficiently evacuated.

Result
At all the companies, we find that measures, both technical and operational, have been implemented to improve and ensure prudent evacuation under the site-specific circumstances in which the facility is used.

Non-conformities were identified in connection with:

  • Assessments of consequences of use of yellow seats (see explanation below)
  • Uncertainty in respect of performance and use of analyses
  • Status of modified GES40 lifeboats
  • Employee participation

In addition, improvement points were identified in connection with:

  • Assessment and handling of heeling incidents
  • Competence requirements for verification of the condition of the barriers
  • Systematic follow-up of the evacuation barrier function
  • Competence of lifeboat skippers

Background
The background to the audit was the discovery in 2005 of deficiencies in lifeboats on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Consequently, the industry and supervisory authorities have worked to improve both knowledge of the area and the condition of lifeboats used on the NCS.

In our assessment, there remains a need for close monitoring of evacuation. Our ministry, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, stands behind this assessment and has asked us to follow it up through our audits.

The audits are linked to the requirement to reduce the risk of major accidents.

Main challenges linked to freefall lifeboats:

Hull strength
This is addressed by reinforcing existing hulls or replacing lifeboats

Safety of personnel on board, the effect of acceleration forces on the human body
This is addressed by replacing seats and harnesses, replacing lifeboats or decommissioning some seats. Based on modelling and analyses, lifeboat seats are classified as green, yellow and red seats, depending on the acceleration forces and potential for injury involved in their use. Seats with a red classification must not be used. Yellow seats may be used in certain cases, depending on site-specific and facility-specific assessments and measures.

Propulsion
This is addressed by increasing engine power, optimising propellers and launching the lifeboats with the engine/propeller running.

Main challenges linked to davit-launched lifeboats:

Release of the hook on water entry. When davit-launched lifeboats reach the water in wave conditions, rapid release of the hook is critical, to prevent the lifeboat from being left hanging from the davits as the sea level falls from wave peak to wave trough.

This is addressed by switching to new and improved hooks that feature rapid and reliable release mechanisms.

Propulsion
This is addressed by increasing engine power, optimising propellers and launching the lifeboats with the engine/propeller running.

Øyvind Midttun, Press contact
Email: oyvind.midttun@ptil.no | +47 51 87 34 77