Aug 272010

image Britain’s Health and Safety Executive, Offshore Division, has issued the following alert regarding Failures of manually operated side-door elevators due to unplanned opening of latch mechanism of side-door elevators lifting large diameter well casing from the horizontal position.

Says HSE: “There have been several serious dropped object incidents in offshore Northern Europe, including a near fatality, involving the use of manually operated side-door elevators to lift large diameter well casing. The incidents involved the unplanned opening of the elevators, during tailing-out or lifting of pipe from a horizontal position, allowing the load to fall. Investigation of the incidents has raised concerns about the safety of the latching mechanism.”

“The incidents came to our attention through the North Sea Offshore Authorities Forum (NSOAF). The Forum represents the offshore safety regulators of Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK.

“In view of the serious nature of the incidents, the Health and Safety Executive is issuing this notice to draw the attention of duty holders in UK waters to the issue, to the recommended actions and to the relevant UK regulations.

Action required:

Users of the equipment should ensure that:-

  • the use of such equipment is fully risk assessed;
  • the equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair, with its maintenance log kept up to date;
  • its use is provided with suitable supervision and control measure to ensure the elevators are properly latched and secured before any lift commences;
  • those using or supervising the use of the equipment are provided with information, instruction and training on the use of the equipment, including any additional control measures;
  • safety management systems are in place to check compliance with the above.

Users purchasing or renting new manual side-door elevators should verify with the manufactures or suppliers of the equipment that the design and manufacture of the equipment has been reviewed to ensure the safety of the latching mechanism. Users should satisfy themselves that the mechanism is safe and reliable for all foreseeable operations.

Relevant legal documents:

  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, which implements the European Union 1995 Amending Directive on the Use of Working Equipment, applies, in particular:
    • Regulation 4: Suitability of work equipment
    • Regulation 5: Maintenance
    • Regulation 6: Inspection
    • Regulation 7: Specific Risks
    • Regulation 8: Information and instructions
    • Regulation 9: Training
    • Regulation 10: Conformity with Community requirements
    • Regulation 12: Protection against specified hazards
  • The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Section 6 – "General duties of manufacturers etc as regards articles and substances at work".

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