OCS safe lifting group: New incident-reporting format to aid analysis

Posted on 16 July 2012

API committee reviews 2011 data, seeks consistency, details on lifting incidents from operators

By Gregg Germer, ExxonMobil Canada East; Allen Verret, Offshore Operators Committee; Robert Watson, Seatrax Cranes; Larry Smith, Oil States Nautilus Cranes

Figure 1: A review of OCS lifting data from 2011 by the API Offshore Lifting Safety Data Workgroup shows that the overall number of incidents and injuries associated with lifting remained fairly flat compared with 2010 data.

The overall number of incidents and injuries on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in 2011 associated with lifting has remained fairly flat compared with 2010 data, according to a review by the API Offshore Lifting Safety Data Workgroup (OLSDW). Further, it was found that training of personnel and following procedures – rather than equipment failures – are the elements that industry must focus on in order to further reduce incidents.

The OLSDW was organized in 2009 to analyze lifting data/incidents on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). It was tasked to comment on trends and lessons learned and to communicate its recommendations on safety improvements to the industry through the IADC, API, OOC, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG). The effort was driven by the industry and by the two regulatory agencies, BSEE and USCG.

The workgroup, which is composed of operators, drilling contractors, crane manufacturers, industry organizations (API, OOC, IADC), governmental bodies (BSEE, USCG), offshore vessel operators, and lifting device manufacturers, has now reviewed data from 2006 through 2011.

The general process for the review begins with all OLSDW members signing a confidentiality agreement due to the sensitive nature of the data provided by BSEE.  A “dump” of the raw data associated with lifting is sent to the OLSDW from BSEE’s database. A dedicated group of four people from the OLSDW then begin their review. The first pass on the data is reviewed at a high level to ensure the incidents provided by BSEE are lifting-related.

Once the list of incidents has been agreed upon, a more thorough review is done on each incident. The team searches for trends. It asks who is getting injured, what the causes are and what the contributing factors are. The data from each review are compared with the data from previous reviews to identify trends.

The OLSDW recently completed its review of 2011 lifting incidents. The good news is the overall number of incidents and injuries associated with lifting has remained fairly flat compared with 2010 data (Figure 1).  However, there were two fatalities associated with lifting in 2011, which clearly must be addressed.

As seen in Figure 2, employee failure and the load contacted/shifted remain the top causes for injuries for 2011. It is significant that equipment failure is not the main cause of the injuries. Injuries from equipment failures do occur, but given the causal pattern that has emerged, it is clear that training of personnel and ensuring procedures are followed must be emphasized to reduce incidents.

For 2011, there were no surprises as data showed that the rigger continues to be the person most likely to be injured and the hand the most likely body part injured.

Figure 2: Injuries from employee failure and load contacted/shifted remain top causes of lifting incidents/injuries on the OCS. It is significant that equipment failure is not the main cause – indicating that training of personnel and ensuring procedures are followed must be emphasized.

From a review of the 2011 data, the OLSDW is recommending that training continue to focus on riggers, with particular attention to the position of their body to the load and the placement of hands on the load being lifted. The OLSDW also recommends that riggers should minimize contact with the load.  The less contact with the load, the less potential there is for an injury.

In addition, the OLSDW recommends a crane operator refresher training on planning the load swing path to help prevent and minimize the number of loads coming in contact with objects and snagging. The continued and ongoing training of personnel is the best way to affect behavior to reduce/eliminate lifting injuries.

The final recommendation from the OLSDW is to implement a new reporting format. This will aid in the analysis of lifting incidents. In reviewing the data from BSEE, the OLSDW has noted that the information received from the operators consists of a very brief narrative of the incident. The kind and extent of details of the narrative can significantly vary from operator to operator.  The new reporting format, which the OLSDW has developed and is recommending to be used by all operators, will increase the consistency, quality and amount of information provided. This will yield better learnings and in turn reduce or eliminate lifting injuries. The new form can easily be attached to “eWell” when reporting back to BSEE.

The OLSDW’s goals are simple and direct: reduce or eliminate injuries associated with lifting incidents. This can only be achieved by operators, trade associations and regulators working together.  Through the API standards program – and based on recommendations from OLSDW – these stakeholders are now updating API Recommended Practice 2D on training, lift planning and JSAs.  BSEE supports the OLSDW by providing yearly lifting incident data.

Acknowledgment: The OLSDW would like to thank Bob Watson, Allen Verret, Gregg Germer and Larry Smith for the countless hours they have spent reviewing the lifting incident data for the past two years.

API RP 2D 7th edition to address training for lifting operations personnel

By David Landry and Joe Sologub, API RP2D Technical Committee Co-chairs

In October 2010, a group of industry professionals met in New Orleans, La., to begin updating the sixth edition of API Recommended Practice 2D “Operations and Maintenance of Offshore Cranes.” The undertaking was intended to help address recommendations from the 2009 API Safe Lifting Task Group (SLTG). This article provides a brief summary of the changes that will be forthcoming in the seventh edition of API RP 2D when finalized.

The SLTG was a diverse group of personnel from both industry and regulatory arenas that was organized to address observations and concerns expressed by two regulatory agencies – the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), formerly the Minerals Management Service (MMS), and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) – regarding industry lifting operations. The SLTG conducted a review of Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) incident data covering lifting operations from 1990 to 2009. However, the group primarily focused on data from 2006 to 2009 because of changes in MMS incident-reporting requirements that took place in 2006.

From their data review, the SLTG concluded that most incidents occurred when personnel were not following their training or established procedures and that the personnel getting hurt most frequently was the rigger.

As part of their efforts, the SLTG made numerous recommendations to three main groups: 1) operators, 2) trade associations and 3) regulators. Among recommendations to the trade association group was to update API RP 2D and that this update be directed toward rigger training, lift planning and job safety analysis (JSAs).

Since the April 2010 Macondo incident, the offshore industry landscape has changed significantly. The MMS is no longer a regulatory agency, and the issue of lifting operations now falls under the jurisdiction of BSEE and the USCG. BSEE has also implemented its Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) program, which also addresses some of the issues identified by the SLTG (e.g., JSAs).

At the conclusion of the October 2010 meeting, subcommittees were formed to work on updating/revising the various sections of the sixth edition of the RP. Several additions/new sections were originally proposed at the meeting. These included but were not limited to the following:  lift planning, JSAs, temporary cranes and offshore supply vessel (OSV) lifting operations

Since that meeting, there have been numerous meetings of the main committee to review and discuss the work of the subcommittees on their respective sections of the RP.  Some of the originally suggested additions to the recommended practice (e.g., JSAs) have been scaled back from what was originally proposed due to other regulatory coverage of these issues (e.g., SEMS).

Since October 2010, a considerable amount of work has been conducted by the subcommittees to formulate the technical information and language for the RP. There will be numerous changes in many sections of the forthcoming in the proposed seventh edition of the RP.

The most significant/controversial changes will revolve around the training required for personnel that are involved with lifting operations (e.g., crane operators, crane inspectors, riggers, etc.).  There will be more hands-on training and demonstration of competencies versus classroom training. This is an attempt to address the SLTG’s recommendations

The seventh edition is currently in its editorial phase; an editorial committee from the members of the committee has been formed and will begin formatting the document into its final draft so that the RP can be sent out for balloting.

Due to the addition of new sections, a considerable amount of administrative and formatting work has to be done to get the document into a finalized version.  It is hoped that the RP will be ready for balloting in late 2012 or early 2013.

This article is based on a presentation at the 2012 IADC Lifting & Mechanical Handling Conference & Exhibition, 18-19 July in Lafayette, La.

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