Aug 112014

safespaceOGP, the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers, has issued a safety alert following the death of a worker at a construction/rig repair yard in Singapore in May this year. The worker had entered an enclosed space which was inerted with argon gas for a welding operation.

Argon does not do much which is why it is useful in processes like welding where a non-combustible atmosphere is needed to prevent fire and explosions. It can also kill, as this case shows.

Too often there is more than one casualty. The first victim is joined by those who follow attempting a rescue. About two thirds of casualties are would-be rescuers.

Continue reading »

Beware Flashy Welders

 Accident, Safety Alerts, safety flash  Comments Off on Beware Flashy Welders
Sep 062010

imageIf you’re a welder you’ll know about photokeratitis, otherwise known as Welder’s Flash, and the need for proper personal protective equipment but the person who’s giving you a hand might not and may use ineffective improvised ‘protection’. The result is that later, and it can be several hours, the victim experiences pain, a sensation
of dirt particles, photophobia, and difficulty opening eyes.

A recent safety alert from the International Association of Drilling Contractors highlights the issue:

Continue reading »

Close Call On Rig – Explosion Danger When Welding Tank

 close call, confined space, explosion, Offshore, Safety Alerts, safety flash  Comments Off on Close Call On Rig – Explosion Danger When Welding Tank
Apr 222010

The weld area

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.

Continue reading »

Inflammable Glue + Welding= Severe Burns

 fire, safety alert, Safety Alerts, safety flash  Comments Off on Inflammable Glue + Welding= Severe Burns
Apr 142010

imageBeware of flammable adhesives near flames: Marine Safety Forum has issue a safety alert following an incident in which a mechanic was using synthetic rubber glue to secure soundproofing materials inside a small compartment while welding was being carried out close-by.

A mechanic working in the barge workshop on a drilling jack-up has been severely burnt.
Preliminary investigation and findings lead us to think that the cause of the accident is the
combination of the victim’s use of flammable synthetic rubber glue and welding operations performed at the same time on the same jack-up.

Continue reading »

Hatch Fatality – Watch Others On Your ship

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Hatch Fatality – Watch Others On Your ship
Aug 212008


The container vessel Varmland was undergoing her first 5 yearly survey in dry-dock since her launch in 2003. A fitter was killed when he fell from the edge of an open hatch cover into a cargo hold.

The fitter, who had been employed on short term contract, was carrying our welding and burning operations on the closed hold hatch covers; after completing several tasks he went for his lunch break. During the lunch break the chief officer took advantage of the fitter’s absence to open the after half of the hatch cover he had been working on to allow light into the hold beneath, to facilitate ballast tank cleaning. As part of this process the chief officer moved the fitter’s tools close to the unguarded edge of the adjoining forward hatch cover. When the fitter returned from lunch he found his tools had been moved and continued working on similar tasks close to the edge of the forward hatch cover some ten metres above the, now unprotected, open hold. The fitter requested that the hatch be closed to allow him to continue working safely, but in response was told by the chief officer, from the bottom of the open hold, to move his equipment and go work on the closed hatches further forward. Shortly after this the unsupervised fitter fell from the edge of the hatch cover into the hold, resulting in his instant death.

Action taken:

Varmland’s master has implemented a “both hatches open, or both hatches closed” policy to reduce the chance of personnel gaining access to partially open hatch covers.

Varmland’s managers have notified all superintendents and ships in their fleet of the accident and have issued a directive forbidding working on partially opened hatch covers with work only to be permitted on closed hatch covers.

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the managers of Varmland advising them:

  • that their directive on hatch cover working be included in their Safety Management System and of the need for all such procedures to be applied robustly by all crews;
  • to emphasise to it’s crews the duty imposed on individuals by the Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) Regulations 1997, not only with regard to their own personal health and safety, but also for that of others who may be affected by their acts, or omissions.

Read report here

Masters May Be Liable For Seafarer Deaths

 accident reporting, Canada, enclosed space, fire, oil tanker  Comments Off on Masters May Be Liable For Seafarer Deaths
Jul 072008

Captain Gough Everett Wellon, master of a 76,000 tonnes Newfoundland shuttle oil tanker, Kometik, has been found guilty of violating Canadian labour laws in an incident that led to the death of a deckhand and serious injury of a welder in a fire on 8th April 2006. It’s a reminder that in certain jurisdictions a master can be found legally liable under local labor codes if crew don’t follow safety procedures and are killed or injured.

Kometik, owned by Canship-Ugland, services the Hibernia offshore oil platform. While undergoing routine maintenance in Conception Bay a deckhand and a contract welder were welding a steel bracket a cargo hold when a flash fire occurred, killing the deckhand and severely burning the welder. Captain Wellon was subsequently charged with 18 counts under the Canadian Labor Code, pleased guilty to two and the remaining charges were dropped.

Fines of CA$13,750 were imposed on Captain Wellon on each of two charges: failing to ensure that electrical equipment had been disconnected and failure to ensure that the welding did not present a danger to others on board.

In April the ship’s former Chief Mate, Raymond Riggs, was fined CA$20,000 on similar charges.

It is understood that a marine chemist boarded the vessel and tank the No. 4 cargo tank but not the No. 5 tank where the incident occurred. The tank was tested by a crew members before entry but questions remain about the equipment and the seafarer’s ability to use it. Canada’s Transportation Safety Board has not yet issued its investigation report on th incident.