HSE issues second safety warning to the offshore sector

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the UK’s safety regulator, has released a second safety alert to the offshore sector.

This comes after an investigation into the disappearance of a worker, believed to have fallen through

a gap in a rig’s deck.

The recent safety bulletin highlighted the HSE’s awareness of incidents involving “damaged and dislodged gratings” on rigs, which pose significant threats to offshore workers. This alert, the second in approximately six months, emphasizes the potential dangers during rig moves in the UK.

The first alert was released in March 2023 highlighted unsafe use of floor grating systems in oil and gas, and wind generation.

The HSE’s recent update mentions that grating systems can be compromised by factors like adverse weather conditions, including wave impacts. Damage can also arise during rig movements, such as towing, moving semi-submersibles, jacking, or adjusting jack-up rigs. Moreover, the integrity of these grating systems can degrade over time.

Safety Recommendations

The latest advisory suggests that duty holders and offshore installation proprietors should conduct risk evaluations of the grating systems on their assets. They should assess the likelihood of these gratings being dislodged or damaged during rig moves or due to harsh weather and sea conditions.

The HSE advises, “Upon identifying potential hazards, it’s imperative to either eliminate or manage the risks to the extent reasonably feasible.”

The bulletin also urges operators to revisit their operational guidelines and emergency response plans. In situations involving a missing individual or someone overboard, it’s crucial for those participating in rig move operations to have efficient emergency response strategies ready. A prior alert in March had urged all duty holders and employers to pinpoint grating areas, cautioning about tripping risks and the perils of personnel falling through unsecured floors or gaps created by missing grates.

Previously, investigations revealed that certain fasteners meant for securing polymer grating floor sections were either not installed or improperly placed.

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