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Need for international commitment

A multi-national audit of lifting operations and lifting equipment highlights five areas where there are particular needs for improvement: planning and selecting equipment, control, risk evaluation, training/competence and management. Discipline leader Svein Anders Eriksson in the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) cited references from the NSOAF report during the opening of the 12th international offshore crane and lifting conference on Wednesday, 9 May.

The PSA was responsible for project management of the multi-national audit of crane and lifting operations, under the direction of the North Sea Offshore Authorities Forum (NSOAF). During the period from 2006 to March of this year, a total of 16 audits were conducted of operating companies and drilling contractors on the continental shelves of four different countries.

Joint effort
The report shows that the industry is facing several concurrent challenges.
"This underlines the necessity of the authorities working together with the industry and across national boundaries to reduce the risk associated with lifting operations," says Eriksson. He adds that the results of NSOAF’s lifting project also constitute important background experience for the lifting project under the direction of the International Regulators Forums (IRF) - which is currently getting underway. The IRF report "Generic report on offshore lifting and mechanical handling issues" - as well as experience gained from the PSA's own analysis report of incidents involving offshore cranes, has formed the basis for selecting topics for the international audit.

Important meeting place
“The North Sea Offshore Cranes & Lifting Conference" is organized by the Norwegian Society of Lifting Technology (KTF) and the Offshore Mechanical Handling Equipment Committee (OMHEC). The purpose is to create a meeting place to discuss and share knowledge about best practice in the field of cranes and lifting operations offshore - as regards both equipment/new technology, operational and organizational factors. This year's conference will be held in Stavanger from 9-11 May, with more than 170 attendees representing 16 nations.

Heavy and deep
Traditionally, the topics have been linked to lifting operations with offshore cranes to and from facilities and vessels. This year's agenda is different from previous years in that it has particular focus on heavy lifts and underwater lifts. "Heavy lifts associated with removal of facilities is a new area we are emphasizing, says the PSA discipline leader.

The trend in cranes and lifting in recent years has been positive. Nevertheless, incidents linked to cranes and lifting operations still make a significant contribution to the overall risk and damage picture. Many of the incidents could have lead to fatalities if circumstances had been just slightly altered.
"Vigilance and the will to continuously improve both nationally and internationally are preconditions for maintaining this positive trend," concludes Svein Anders Eriksson.

It is NSOAF's expectation that OMHEC will draw up guidelines related to the five problem areas that emerge in the project report. The guidelines will be published on the web pages of the member countries, as well as on the OMHEC’s own website, following approval by NSOAF.

Contact in the PSA:
Svein Anders Eriksson,
Discipline leader, logistics and emergency preparedness
E-mail: Svein.Eriksson@ptil.no
Telephone: +47 909 86 608

For press inquiries:
Inger Anda, press spokesperson
E-mail: inger.anda@ptil.no
Telephone: +47 970 54 064