Safety alert issued over offshore facility lifting operations

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Monday, 9 August, 2021 - 12:30
Policy & legislation
National News

NOPSEMA recently issued a safety alert following an incident which involved a lifting operation on an offshore facility and one worker was injured and transferred onshore for medical treatment.

The incident involved a monorail hoist dropping a 500kg piping spool (including ancillaries) when its beam trolley, chain hoist and suspended load overran the end-stop.

NOPSEMA deployed inspectors to the facility to investigate, and preliminary findings identified that the monorail hoist was not fit for purpose, specifically the monorail end stops and beam trolley width.

In addition to this finding, the beam trolley had been modified outside of the management of change processes and the lift plan was not followed, resulting in unsafe operation of the monorail hoist.

Recognising an immediate threat to the health and safety of the workforce, NOPSEMA issued a prohibition notice requiring the duty holder to cease the use of ‘any beam-and-trolley type lifting appliance’ for the ‘lifting of any kind without the express and written approval of the facility Offshore Installation Manager that risk has been appropriately managed’.

NOPSEMA is monitoring the duty holder’s internal investigation including the identification of root causes and remedial actions.

NOPSEMA has previously drawn industry’s attention to the real and significant threat from lifting operations, dropped objects and crane failures to the offshore workforce.

The regulator said all lifting equipment must be designed, installed, inspected, and maintained in accordance with the relevant standards and by a competent person, and highlighted a number of key lessons:

  • All lifting operations can pose a significant risk, including fatalities to people.
  • All lifting must be done following appropriate planning and executed as intended.
  • Monorails, including their end stops and attachment to supporting structures, must be designed, installed, and inspected in accordance with the requirements of the relevant standard by a competent person. Refer to the relevant standards within the AS1418 & AS2550 series of Australian Standards.
  • Serially produced lifting equipment, including monorail beam trolleys, must not be modified from the original equipment manufacturer design.
  • Appropriate lifting equipment must be selected for use for the specific lifting application.
  • Monorail hoist systems are designed for the vertical lifting/lowering and lateral transfer of loads. Monorail hoists must not be used for dragging loads and non-vertical lifting as it may result in a failure of the monorail beam/beam trolley/end stops and/or the dropping of the load.