Safety alert #73 - Lifting operations

06 August, 2021

Recently, NOPSEMA was notified of an incident on an offshore facility where members of the workforce were impacted during a lifting operation. One member of the workforce was injured and transferred onshore for medical treatment.

The incident involved a monorail hoist dropping a 500kg piping spool (including ancillaries) when its beam trolley, chain hoist and suspended load overran the end-stop.

Safety Alert #73 Diagram

NOPSEMA deployed inspectors to the facility to investigate. Preliminary findings identified that the monorail hoist was not fit for purpose, specifically the monorail end stops and beam trolley width. In addition to this finding, the beam trolley had been modified outside of management of change processes and the lift plan was not followed, resulting in unsafe operation of the monorail hoist.

Recognising an immediate threat to the health and safety of the workforce, NOPSEMA issued a prohibition notice requiring the duty holder to cease the use of 'any beam-and-trolley type lifting appliance' for the 'lifting of any kind without the express and written approval of the facility Offshore Installation Manager that risk has been appropriately managed'.

NOPSEMA is monitoring the duty holder’s internal investigation including the identification of root-causes and remedial actions.

NOPSEMA has previously (e.g. the recent Crane Safety Workshop held on 27th July) drawn industry’s attention to the real and significant threat from lifting operations, dropped objects and crane failures to the offshore workforce. Duty holders are reminded that all lifting equipment must be designed, installed, inspected, and maintained in accordance with the relevant standards and by a competent person.

Key lessons

  • All lifting operations can pose significant risk, including fatalities to people.
  • All lifting must be done following appropriate planning and executed as intended.
  • Monorails, including their end stops and attachment to supporting structures, must be designed, installed, and inspected in accordance with the requirements of the relevant standard by a competent person. Refer to the relevant standards within the AS1418 & AS2550 series of Australian Standards.
  • Serially produced lifting equipment, including monorail beam trolleys, must not be modified from the original equipment manufacturer design.
  • Appropriate lifting equipment must be selected for use for the specific lifting application.
  • Monorail hoist systems are designed for the vertical lifting/lowering and lateral transfer of loads. Monorail hoists must not be used for dragging loads and non-vertical lifting as it may result in a failure of the monorail beam/beam trolley/end stops and/or the dropping of the load.

The legislation

Operators of a facility should refer to their general and specific duties as defined in Schedule 3 Part 2 Division 1 Clause 9 of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006:

  • (1)(a) to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that the facility is safe and without risk to the health of any person at or near the facility
  • (2)(c) to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that any plant, equipment, materials and substances at the facility are safe and without risk to health

For further information


Due to the complex and technical nature of NOPSEMA’s work, enquiries are best addressed in writing to

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