Bad, confusing design is a hazard we don’t hear about very much but in an emergency the difference between good design and bad design may be the narrow gap between success and tragedy. Take a look at the picture at the top of this page: Can you immediately tell which tags to pull to cut off fuel and which to pull to activate the CO2 fire suppression system? In the dark? In rough weather? In a hurry?
Flotation righting bags are an essential safety component of Fast Rescue Craft, FRC. The experience of a Marine Safety Forum, MSF, member described in a recent safety alert suggests that it might be a good idea to check the air cylindre and its connections.
Says MSF: “The fast rescue craft on an anchor handler was being prepared for an MOB drill with the rig. A crew member was attempting to gain safe access to the FRC to unplug the battery power charge by holding onto the A frame. In doing so, he had inadvertently disturbed an exposed section of the activation cable for the
floatation righting bag.
The exposed cable for the righting bag exited the protective tubing on the A frame and connects to the trigger mechanism of the air bottle.
A very slight hissing noise was heard after unplugging the battery power cable indicating that the air bottle had been activated. Closer inspection revealed that the activation cable could be wriggled to stop the flow of air.
Since air had been partly discharged, it was decided to pull the cable and activate the righting bag fully.
FRC Make and Model: MARE GTC 700 Rigid Fast Rescue Craft.
The exposed section of activation cable exiting the protective tubing and leading to trigger mechanism was accidently disturbed when crew member was gaining safe access by holding onto the A-frame resulting in
partial activation of the trigger mechanism
Close calls are an indicator that something is not quite right and can head-off a potential incident but sadly too often go unreported. This safety alert from the Marine Safety Forum, MSF, is a good example of its kind.
In this case the extra Master was not aware that the Chief Officer had misunderstood his order or had understood the order but erred in carrying it out. It is an example of the fact that communication is a two-way street through command and response.
Here is the safety alert:
Marine Safety Forum reports a recent incident on board a vessel which highlights the importance of close interface between contractors working onboard and the vessel crews.
During the demobilization of contractor equipment, the equipment had to be Locked Out and Tagged Out (LOTO) to ensure that a “ZERO ENERGY STATE” had been achieved before work commenced.
The contractor visited the ECR and with vessel crew locked and tagged out the system and started work. The power was verified to be locked out at the equipment and isolated at the breaker in the deck distribution box and work commenced.
During work scope the lock out key was passed to another member of the contractor team who proceeded to the ECR to remove the LOTO and re-energised the system.
Ensure that locking pins on lifting racks have clear indications whether they are locked or not. That the lesson from a recent call incident at an offshore installation.
Details of near miss:
Whilst back-loading of cargo from an installation, it was noticed that an airborne gas rack on its way down to the Supply Vessel had the door swinging open. It was also noticed from the bridge that one of the bottles inside the rack was at an angle.
The Master alerted the Crane Operator who landed the unit without damage or further incident.
The locking pins on the gas rack door were both found to be in the open position and have
now been secured. One of the bottles inside the unit was found to be looseand able to tip backwards and forwards despite there being a ratchet strap around them.
On checking the bottle rack, it was not immediately apparent that the locks were open as there is no clear indication of the open and locked positions; there were no stickers or other form of markings to show the position the handle should be in. The door looked secure, but on physically
checking, it could still be opened.
The rack was not of a type that the Installation deck crew were familiar with, and this may have contributed to the incident.
The rack had been made ready for shipment the previous day when the internal retaining bar had been secured with tie wraps and an additional fabric ratchet strop had been used to secure the cylinders in the rack. These prevented any bottles falling to the deck of the vessel, which could have been potentially serious for the vessel deck crew, although the strap was probably a bit too low.
The rack had then been given a visual check and lifted with no incident from a landing area where bottles had been loaded, to the roof to await backload.
On the day of the back-load, the material controller had carried out the Banks-man’s checks and visually checked the door was closed, attached a Banks-man’s label and sent the load down to the boat. With hindsight, a physically check of the door security was not done as it was believed that the door was secure.
1. Banks-man’s checks should include not only visual, but a physical check of security of any opening doors or panels, not only on gas bottle racks, but any back-loaded cargo.
CHECK THE DOORS!
2. The internal retaining bar and application of an additional fabric ratchet strop clearly prevented the bottles falling when the door opening and it is recommended that bottles racks are not moved without these additional precautions being used.
3. Ratchet straps should be fitted in a position which takes into account the likely centre of gravity of the bottles.
4. Suppliers of bottle racks of similar design should be contacted to make them aware of the need to provide clear indication and instruction as to how doors should be secured.
Two incidents involving chain slings have revealed that chains made by an as-yet unnamed Chinese manufacturer may fail well below their safe working limit. Step Change In Safety has issued an alert on the incident.
On two separate occasions chain slings were used to perform lifting operations. The slings, from the same supplier, failed whilst a lift was being performed.
In the first incident an arrangement of four 5.3 tonne collared chain slings were used in a ‘basket’ configuration around the lifting points of a 20 tonne concrete block. After 5 blocks had been moved using this method team members noticed that one of the chain links had parted at its weld point.
The second Incident invoved two 2-legged 11.2 tonne chain slings to create a 4 point sling arrangement was used to relocate 13 tonne concrete blocks, similar to the first incident, after four blocks had been moved the work party noticed that a link in the chain had failed at its weld point.
The lift plan and slinging arrangement techniques were appropriate for the task. All of the slings were new prior to the start of the operations.
The chain slings were sourced from a single supplier.
It was found that the chains received were certified by batch testing only and it transpired that the name and signature on the certification was replicated by computerised signature and not necessarily the person who actually carried out the inspection or testing, giving concerns as to whether there had been any testing.
The company which bought the chains from a UK supplier has initiated a requirement for all chains purchased to be tested to Safe Working Limit.
All chains recieved from this supplier were immediately placed in quarantine and returned to the supplier, which was instructed to perform an investigation as to why the equipment failed and all similar equipment is recalled awaiting the investigation and report.
The UK based sub-supplier does not manufacture the chain but acts as an agent on behalf of manufacturers in China, some of whom do not hold export licences. They have immediately withdrawn all chain from sale supplied by this company, additionally cancelled all orders with this agent and will continue to request the manufacturers details but more importantly the reason for failure.
Thanks to the Offshore Energy Branch of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers for this safety alert generated by contractor BIS Salamis regarding a close call involving a safety inertia reel. One slip and a nasty accident could have occurred.
Says the safety alert: “A scaffolder attempting to attach his safety inertia reel to the small lanyard on the back of his harness, accidentally attached it to the rubber ID TAG, which was sent along with the W @ H (work at height) equipment from onshore. It was noticed by another member of his team straight away they then reported it immediately.
It’s a forehead slapper, but if you want your CO2 extinguisher system to work when needed it might be a good idea to check, right now, that the safety pins have been removed from the cylindre valves.
Yes, it does happen.
Says a Marine Safety Forum alerts: “During an annual certification of critical equipment on a vessel, a contractor identified the safety pins used for transporting and disabling the system on the CO2 Cylinders had not been removed from the valves. This matter was brought to the attention of the Master on the bridge who subsequently removed the pins and informed the company byn incident report form for the identified near miss.
An alert rig site senior mechanic spotted a welder carrying out a job that could have led to an explosion. It is a reminder to check thoroughly what’s inside a tank before welding the outside.
A safety alert from the International Association of Drlling Contractors says: “The rig accumulator supply tank required maintenance which included the task of welding on the tank and piping. The rig site senior mechanic was walking within the vicinity of the job being performed and noticed the welder welding on the tank. The operation was immediately stopped by the mechanic when he realized
the potential explosive atmosphere that existed.
The tank itself had not been purged. The tank lid was still closed and secured in place. The contents of the tank had not been emptied nor cleaned prior to the welding taking place. The welder was not aware of the tank contents. There was not a well defined fire watch being utilized. A fire extinguisher or pressurized water hose was not within the working vicinity as required by policy and the Permit to Work procedure.