MMS: 18.5% of OCS incidents in 2005-08 involve lifting

US Minerals Management Service statistics show a total of 2,724 incidents were reported during 2005-08 on the Outer Continental Shelf, of which 506 incidents involved lifting operations.

Jul 17th, 2009

Paula Dittrick
Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, July 17 -- US Minerals Management Service statistics show a total of 2,724 incidents were reported during 2005-08 on the Outer Continental Shelf, of which 506 incidents involved lifting operations.

MMS spokesmen outlined the statistics during an Offshore Safe Lifting Conference July 14-15 in Houston sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute.

Phil Smith, manager of regulatory affairs for Shell Exploration & Production Co., helped organize the conference.

“Lifting operations offshore do not come without risk,” Smith said. “It is one of the most dangerous things we do. We have to move heavy things around in difficult conditions.”

Stats come from operators
Joe Levine, senior engineer with the MMS office in Herndon, Va., said that 351 lifting incidents stemmed from production activities while 155 incidents stemmed from drilling activities.

These figures came from information that companies reported to the MMS for 2005-08.

Cranes were involved in 411 of the 506 total lifting incidents while devices other than a crane accounted for the rest. Levine said devices other than a crane include air hoists, tuggers, winches, chainfalls, and come-a-longs.

During 2005-08, a total of 1,128 injuries were reported on the OCS of which 153 were lifting injuries. Of the lifting injuries, 105 were associated with cranes and 48 were associated with other lifting devices.

Thirty fatalities were reported on the OCS of which 13.3% were associated with lifting. There were two fatalities associated with cranes and two fatalities associated with other lifting devices, Levine said.

Consequently, MMS issued 337 total lifting incidents of noncompliance (INCs). MMS issues an INC to an operator upon identifying an infraction from an approved permit, plan, or regulation.

Ninety of the INCs were associated with slings either not correctly identified or improperly store when not in use. Other common lifting INCs issued by the agency included:

-- The crane not being taken out of service when deficiencies were known or failure to strict the crane’s activities to eliminate unsafe conditions.

-- Repairs or replacements of critical components not being made promptly.

-- Not having an annual inspection performed by qualified inspectors with records readily available for 4 years.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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