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Fewer serious incidents involving offshore cranes

The number of serious incidents associated with lifting operations involving offshore cranes on the Norwegian shelf has been substantially reduced over the last three years, according to a new report. At the same time, a study of undesirable incidents involving offshore cranes in the period 2000 - 2004 shows that the causal connections when incidents do occur are the same as they were ten years ago.

The trend in the field of cranes and lifting has been good in recent years, but there is still a challenge in that many serious incidents occur which under only slightly altered circumstances could have resulted in fatalities.

In 2004, 50-60 serious incidents were recorded (i.e. classified as "red" or "yellow"). There have also been several serious incidents in 2005.

New report
The report "Causal connection analysis of unintentional offshore crane incidents - Phase 2? has been prepared by Scandpower on assignment from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA). The results were presented to the industry on 10 June.

The study examines all undesirable incidents involving offshore cranes recorded in the operators' reporting systems during the period 2000 - 2004. This is a continuation of similar analysis work for the period 1994-1999, which resulted in a similar report in 2001. Subsequent to the 2001 report, the authorities and the industry implemented a number of measures.

Fewer serious incidents
In Phase 2, approximately 3000 incidents have been checked and analyzed for the period 2000-2004. Each incident is categorized based on the seriousness of the event (red, yellow, green) as well as in an MTO perspective (MTO = Man, Technology and Organizational factors).

There is a significant declining trend in the number of recorded red and yellow incidents per year linked to cranes and lifting operations for the entire period. The number was at its highest level in 2000, and has been reduced by about 75 percent up to 2004.

Despite a positive trend in recent years, cranes and lifting still account for a significant contribution to the overall risk and injury scenario on the Norwegian shelf. During the period 2000-2004, there were three fatal accidents involving cranes and lifting operations offshore (Oseberg Øst in 2000 and Byford Dolphin and Gyda - both in 2002).

50-60 serious incidents were recorded in 2004 (i.e. categorized as "red" or "yellow"). There have also been several serious incidents in 2005 which under only slightly altered circumstances could have resulted in fatalities.

Therefore, it is important that everyone maintains the focus on crane lifts as a risky work operation.

Focus and commitment must be maintained
The analysis also shows that incorrect execution of work, breaches of procedures and equipment faults/deficiencies are the most common direct causes of serious incidents.

The most frequently occurring underlying causes are related to inadequate planning, deficient maintenance and lack of expertise.

General improvement measures should primarily focus on these areas, where they have the maximum value, but must be adapted to the needs of the individual facility.

"This report is part of the PSA's work to obtain an overview of the state of lifting operations offshore. The first study for the period 1994-1999 and this study covering 2000-2004 reveal the same causal connections, and both reports point to the same areas that need improvement," says Director Magne Ognedal in the PSA.

"Even though it is gratifying that the trend is moving in the right direction, the analysis also shows that in 2004 we still had 50 - 60 "red and yellow" incidents, and that we must maintain our focus and commitment in this area," Ognedal points out.

Contact in the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway:
Svein Anders Eriksson,
Discipline leader logistics and preparedness
E-mail: Svein.Eriksson@ptil.no
Tel. +47 909 86 608