Fatal accident during lifting operations within a main crude tank on an FPSO

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Description of Task: 

On the 6th of January 2007 the industry experienced the tragic loss of a colleague offshore on an FPSO in the UK sector of the North Sea. Another colleague sustained an injury to his arm. The following facts are provided for information: The work was to conduct modifications inside one of the crude oil tanks. Three personnel were working on a scaffold working platform that was positioned at the bottom of the tank. During a lift to remove a number of items from the working platform to the main deck level through a hatch, some of the items fell to the platform below. One of the lifted items rebounded from a piece of equipment on the working platform and struck one of the persons working nearby. The emergency response team mobilised immediately, but despite medical attention the injuries later proved to be fatal. Another person received an injury to his arm while protecting himself from another falling object.

Lessons Identified: 

It is too early to identify the circumstances surrounding this accident, but it is worth reminding ourselves of the importance of some key issues that we face every day as an industry.


POTENTIAL FOR FALLING OBJECTSLifting operations are designed and engineered to prevent loads from dropping; however, the potential for a load to fall still exists. It is essential that personnel do not enter the drop zone during lifting operations. When defining a drop zone, consideration should be given to the possibility for the falling items to be deflected, slide or bounce some distance from the original load path.

INTERFACE BETWEEN TWO OR MORE JOBSWhere there is more than one work scope being carried out within an area, it is important that any impact of these work scopes on each other is recognised and managed accordingly.

IMPORTANCE OF TOOLBOX TALKSThe toolbox talk is often the last discussion by a work team before a job commences. It is essential that all involved in the job understand all of the controls identified for that job and that these are in place before the work commences.

Information source: 
Steve.Grant2@akerkvaerner.com mcfarlaned@talisman.co.uk
Contact Details: 
Step Change in Safety
Specific Equipment: 

No details available.

Incident consequence: 
Cause of accident or incident: 
Moving, flying or falling object