Dropped objects

Article published in the Regulator issue 3:2015

Incidents involving dropped objects continue to be reported to both NOPSEMA and other regulators and industry associations globally. 

NOPSEMA has been notified of 19 dropped object incidents so far in 2015. The monthly safety alerts published by the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) frequently include at least one dropped object incident. Five or six of the 30 safety alerts typically published annually by the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) are also usually associated with dropped objects. NOPSEMA was recently notified of an incident that involved a 15 kg teflon wear protection plate falling 40m from a crane boom. This incident was of particular concern given a potential fatality was narrowly avoided. During a subsequent inspection at the facility, NOPSEMA inspectors made the following observations: 

• While some remedial action had been taken following the incident, there was a lack of a systematic
inspection regime to identify and manage potential dropped object risks throughout the facility.

• Appropriate access to crane booms (and similar structures) to facilitate visual inspection for potential dropped objects may be inappropriately constrained by operational requirements for the equipment to be continuously available.

• A reliance on third party crane inspections and surveys (which are not focused on dropped object prevention).

Facility operators are reminded of the dropped objects prevention scheme (DROPS), an initiative established within the oil and gas industry in the late 1990s. The DROPS has effectively developed into a global work group involving over 200 operators, contractors, service companies and industry bodies. The DROPS provides a comprehensive selection of resources and guidance on:

• dropped object awareness and prevention

• best practice

• recommendations

• lessons learnt

• tools and techniques (including a DROPS calculator and templates for dropped object surveys and inspections).

For more information about DROPS, visit dropsonline.org.