The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has released its Investigative Report on the incident that occurred on the South Pass 49 A platform in the Gulf of Mexico on September 8, 2020. The platform is owned and operated by Cox Operating LLC. During the incident, a contractor on the platform fell through a piece of grating, catching himself with his arms before he fell through the decking completely. The injured worker was then taken to shore via a helicopter for medical treatment.
The BSEE report notes that investigation found corrosion on the beams of the deck grating that fell in the water below where the incident occurred. The piece of grating was supposed to be secured with clips, but had not been welded in place on the platform.
Significantly, BSEE had previously issued Incidents of Nonconformance to Cox Operating regarding corrosion on the platform:
On several prior BSEE inspections conducted at SP 49-A, INCs were issued for corrosion and documented that the corrosion would need to be repaired within a year.
Furthermore, the Level-1 inspection dated 25 May 2019, submitted to the BSEE Office of Structural and Technical Support, indicates Coating on the production steel bar deck grating is in moderate condition with moderate to heavy surface corrosion and scale covering approximately 10% of the surface. In addition, the wall corrosion and metal loss due to scale was noted on the production steel bar deck grating as well. The Level-1 report identified areas of concern that Cox had not addressed.
The incident could have been deadly if the contractor had not caught himself as he began to fall through the opening. BSEE concluded that Cox had failed to properly maintain the clips and perform general maintenance. The BSEE report determined the probable causes of the incident:
- Equipment Failure – Inadequate preventive maintenance: Evidence shows localized corrosion on the beam of the 24″ x 36″ deck grating that fell in the water below created a hole where the injured person fell halfway through. The waterline below where the injured person fell halfway through is 62 feet.
- Work Environment – Hazardous workspace: For the steel bar deck grating corrosion in the area of the open hole, in addition to areas surrounding the open hole near and MMS – FORM 2010 PAGE: 3 OF 5 EV2010R 05-JAN-2021 around process vessels that were still in service posed an immediate danger to personnel and the environment.
BSEE also noted numerous violations had occurred:
G-111 (C) 30 CFR 250.107 Evidence shows localized corrosion on the beam of the 24″ x 36″ deck grating that fell in the water below created a hole where the injured person fell halfway through. The waterline below where the injured person fell halfway through is 62 feet.
1 The deck grating between the MBD 1000 and HBG 0700 shows a presence of heavy corrosion.
2 The deck grating between the MBD 1000 and MBD 1001 shows a presence of heavy corrosion.
3 The deck grating between the MBD 1001 and MBF 1004 shows a presence of heavy corrosion.
4 The deck grating from the MBF 1019 skid to the HBG 0700 shows a presence of heavy corrosion.
5 The MBF 1019 skid shows a presence of heavy corrosion.
6 The deck grating at the KAH 6678 pipeline shows a presence of heavy corrosion.
7 The HBG-0700 was observed at the time of inspection with heavy corrosion that resulted in a pin hole with seawater spaying out.
8 The deck grating at fire reel #76 shows a presence of heavy corrosion.
9 The deck grating at fire extinguisher #35 shows a presence of heavy corrosion.
10 The old fire water pump caisson shows a presence of heavy corrosion in danger of falling into the Gulf of Mexico.
11 The deck grating between the MBD 1002 and back of master panel shows a presence of heavy corrosion.
This incident shows the importance of preventative maintenance offshore. Companies must both regularly inspect equipment and structures in a marine environment, but also make necessary repairs to them. A safe preventative maintenance program is not optional in offshore work. Failing to make necessary repairs can be catastrophic to hardworking offshore workers.
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. 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 877-678-5864 to learn more about your legal rights.