BSEE informs about an incident where a floorman fell off a derrick ladder, and provides lessons learned.
rig crew was completing the installation of the mast while rigging up the platform rig’s derrick on an OCS Spar. Once the installation was complete, crew members observed that only the bottom section of the mast was lit up.
The injured person (IP) was tasked to climb up to check and correct the plugs to ensure they were connected. Once completed, the IP descended the derrick ladder until he came to a transition platform.
While transitioning to the lower ladder, the IP fell approximately 11 feet to the walk-around platform below. The IP was wearing a fall protection harness with a double hook lanyard. The IP was not tied off at the time of the fall.
The A-frame walkway kept the IP from falling an additional 30 feet, which would have caused further injury or death.
The company’s incident investigation revealed the IP was using a hook and release process setup with double lanyards to stay securely attached to the rungs of the ladders. At the transition point between the upper and lower ladders, a failure to remain tied off occurred, allowing for the employee to fall.
Additionally, the company found that:
- The Job Safety Environmental Analysis (JSEA) did not address ascending and descending the derrick ladder.
- The employee incorrectly used a hook and release method of using double lanyards to attach to the rungs of the ladders instead of using a self-retracting lifeline as required by the operator’s/contractor’s policies and procedures.
- Employee exhaustion might have been a contributing causal factor.
- Improvements need to be made to its fall protection policies and procedures.
- Improvements need to be made to its fall protection equipment.
- Improvements need to be made to its “working at heights” training and competency for new personnel.
- Review all “working at heights” policies and procedures to ensure they are adequate and are being followed.
- Ensure rescue personnel are identified and Emergency Rescue Plans are completed and discussed before operations begin.
- Inspect all work areas to determine if there are any gaps where employees have difficulty maintaining 100% tie-off while transitioning from one ladder section to another.
- Consider installing a rail or cable fall arrest system directly onto ladders to further mitigate the hazards associated with working at heights. Ensure the fall arrest system extends above the top of the ladder so the worker will have something to hold on to before descending.