Unintended Firing of Flare Ignition Shotgun

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Alert ID: 
Description of Task: 

Unintended Firing of Flare Ignition Shotgun Following a process shutdown, the plant had been brought back online and it was necessary to ignite the flare. A Naked Flame Hot Work WCC was issued for a certificate holder to fire the installation’s flare shot gun. A first shot was fired but failed to ignite the gas plume. The PA re-loaded the gun for a second attempt. When he closed the barrel it immediately discharged. The cartridge struck the deck grating and was deflected below. No damage was caused by the discharge but the potential for harm and damage was high. The shotgun was a single barrel design BAIKAL Model IJ 18E. Subsequent technical specialist examination of the shotgun described a one piece sear and hammer mechanism which engages the mainspring. The face of the sear was found to be worn, thereby lightening the trigger pull necessary to fire the gun, to an extent that the sear/trigger interface was so marginal that even the jarring movement caused by closing the gun would cause discharge. The gun in question was fairly new and still ‘tight’, and had been used infrequently. It is not known why the sear face had worn significantly very early in the life of the gun.

Lessons Identified: 

No details available.


It is recommended that any installation using this type of gun should arrange examination of the condition of the sear face and firing mechanism by a qualified gunsmith. Other issues highlighted by this incident were:•The maintenance regime of shotguns held on offshore installations;•Training of firearm certificate holders engaged in flare ignition operations on offshore installation;•Site-specific procedures guiding the use of flare-ignition shotguns onboard offshore installations.

Information source: 
Contact Details: 
Step Change in Saftey
Specific Equipment: 

Baikal Shotgun Model IJ 18E

Incident consequence: 
Production operations
Fixed Installation
Cause of accident or incident: 
Fire or explosion