BSEE Issues Report following Crane Incident in Gulf of Mexico

by | Jul 25, 2020 | Offshore accidents, Personal Injury

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has released its Investigative Report on the crane incident that occurred involving a vessel moored to the Eugene Island 252-I platform on January 16, 2020.  The platform is operated by Arena Offshore LLC.  The involved vessel was the M/V Mr. Lloyd.  During the incident, a deckhand sustained injuries when attempting to retrieve a Job Safety Analysis from a personnel basket which had been lowered to the deck of the vessel.

The BSEE report, explained the incident:

Once the motor vessel arrived at the facility, the crane operator lowered the personnel basket containing a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) that was requiring a signature by all employees involved with the crane lifting operations. Personnel placed the JSA, located inside a zipped plastic bag, in the middle section of the personnel basket.

The deckhand stated he boarded the personnel basket placing both feet inside to retrieve the JSA. The crane operator stated, he could not see the personnel basket or the deckhand at time he began to lift due to the design of the platform deck blocking his view of the boat. The crane operator stated he heard the command to “come up” on the radio prior to lifting but could not determine who was speaking. As the crane operator began lifting the basket, the deckhand began to exit the basket, stepping on the opening of the basket between deck cover and the foam padding causing him to twist his left leg and back. As the deckhand departed the personnel basket, he lost his balance causing him to strike the midship bitt of the vessel.

During the investigation, boat personnel denied that any instruction to the crane operator was given.  The BSEE investigation determined the incident was caused by a failure to follow the JSA:

The crane operator did not follow the Job Safety Analysis procedures while lifting the personnel basket. According to the Job Safety Analysis, the crane operator was to follow hand signals from the deckhand. The deckhand, who was injured as a result of this incident, was listed as the designated signal person. The crane operator stated he could not see the deckhand or the personnel basket at the time of the lift. There was no listing on the Job Safety Analysis for verbal communication

BSEE also noted multiple contributing causes:

The BSEE investigation concludes the possible contributing causes of the accident were the following:

1). The crane operator failed to follow Arena’s Safe Practices Manual* concerning crane operations. According to the lift planning section, the crane operator should have revised the original lift plan.

2). Incorrect communication received by crane operator. According to the boat personnel, there was no verbal communication given by anyone on the boat to lift the personnel basket. The crane operator stated he received the signal by radio to “come up” with the personnel basket but could not determine who gave the command. At the time of the incident, the radios were set on an open marine channel allowing the crane operator to receive communication from other facilities.

When an offshore accident like this one occurs, there are often multiple causes.  Safe companies must insure that adequate precautions are taken, including proper communication between workers, and adequate supervision from the managers on site.  Here, there were safety guidelines in place issued by the company which could have prevented this occurring.  Blame falls not only on the crane operator, but also his or her supervisors and managers who failed to ensure he followed company safety policies.

One mechanism to safely evaluate and prepare for risks before work is done is through the use of a Job Safety Analysis (“JSA”) or Risk Assessment, which is standard in the offshore industry.  Here, a JSA was done, but the crane operator did not follow it.  In a JSA, each step of the job is examined to identify potential hazards and to recommend the safest way to perform the work in order to minimize those risks.  Accidents like this are often known risks, which must be planned for by platform owners and operators.

Our attorneys have extensive experience in maritime injury and wrongful death litigation in courts across the country and the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives as a result of the negligence of another party, or been seriously injured.  We have handled numerous cases involving injuries that occurred on offshore platforms or vessels, including suing Arena Offshore following an incident in the Gulf of Mexico.  The experienced offshore accident attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an offshore crane accident.  Please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or to learn more about your legal rights.