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Report on serious Gullfaks A lifting incident

A number of non-conformities with the regulations have been found by the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway’s (PSA) investigation into an incident on Gullfaks A where one person was injured during a lifting operation.


Taking place on 28 February 2011, this incident on the Statoil-operated installation in the North Sea could have resulted under slightly different circumstances in a fatality.

It has features in common with a number of serious mechanical handling incidents in recent years on installations operated by Statoil.

During a routing lifting operation on the A platform, a deck worker was crushed between two containers and suffered a broken left collarbone.

Swing
The direct cause of the incident was that the container being lifted began swinging too much and got caught up in another container. A deck worker standing in an unsecured area was struck and injured.

This incident could potentially have killed the person concerned. Substantial material damage could also have been caused.

The investigation has identified the following non-conformances with the regulations:

The PSA is of the opinion that the sum total of the non-conformances described above show that execution of and practice for routine lifting operations with offshore cranes on Gullfaks C was not very robust and had little redundancy.

In other words, the barriers for preventing a serious accident were not good enough. Erroneous actions were not observed or corrected.

Follow-up
The PSA has asked Statoil to provide an explanation by 6 June 2011 on the way the specific non-conformances on Gullfaks A will be dealt with.

A number of the identified deficiencies which led to the Gullfaks A incident have been seen in earlier audits/investigations involving logistics and mechanical handling on other Statoil-operated installations.

The latter company was accordingly called to a meeting on 12 May concerning its management of mechanical handling operations.

In the PSA’s view, the observations related to Statoil’s management of mechanical handing operations – both individually and collectively – are serious.

The PSA has not drawn any conclusions about its continued follow-up after the meeting with Statoil on 12 May. However, the details which emerged at that session will be incorporated in the further follow-up of the company’s management of mechanical handling operations.
 

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