MAC has been provided with a report concerning the death of a Barge Master who fell down a 40 metre lift (US: Elevator) shaft on the Transocean-owned semi-submersible drilling rig Sedco 700 off the coast of Nigeria while inducting a new Ballast Control Operator, BCO.
Among other things, the incident emphasises the need to ensure that potential hazards are noted, reported and mitigated at the earliest possible opportunity and that laid-down procedures should be followed.
While guiding the newly-arrived BCO to the rig the barge master stepped into a lift leading to the ballast pump room, the shaft of which ran down one of the legs of the rig, and told the BCO to close the watertight door through which they had just passed. As he closed the door, the BCO heard a shout, looked into the lift and found an open hatchway in the middle of the floor, through which the barge master evidently fell some 40 metres to his death. The hatch cover had also fallen down the shaft.
Although the hatchcover still fitted the hatchway after it was recovered from beneath the victims body, it is unknown whether it was in position at the time the barge master entered the lift.
One hinge on the hatchcover was corroded and apparently had been broken for some time but the deficiency had not been reported. The other hinge was also broken and had not been reported. Reporting procedures had not been applied.
There had been a number of ‘home made’ modifications to the hatchover but the “contractor formal modification engineering process was not applied”, says the report.
Other finding in the report: “
- Poor visibility inside the elevator cabin.
- The victim was focusing on induction of BCO and was not looking down.
- While the BCO was closing the door it is believed that the victim stepped back into the cabin and fell through the hatch opening in vertical position.
- Elevator was not certified by a Contractor-approved inspection company.
- Hatch was not identified as critica l part in elevator inspection program.
- Low maintenance standard on elevator cabin.
- Access to columns was a daily routine task and Column Entry Procedure was not thoroughly followed by personnel.
- Access to the victim and recovery was difficult as no Rescue Plan was in place for this specific location.