Offshore drilling safety rule gets update

Offshore drilling safety rule gets update

Photo: Chemical Safety Board

Washington — The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is reinstating several previously withdrawn provisions of a final rule intended to address gaps in offshore drilling safety identified after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

BSEE developed the 2016 Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control final rule after its investigation of the Deepwater Horizon incident concluded that the rig’s blowout preventer, or BOP, was a main contributor to the explosion. Eleven workers were killed and millions of barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast.

Citing “unnecessary regulatory burdens,” a 2019 revision rule rolled back about 20% of the original rule’s 342 provisions, including those concerning BOP design, maintenance and repair.

Provisions of the updated regulation include requiring:

  • BOPs to be able to always close and seal the wellbore to the well’s maximum anticipated surface pressure, except as otherwise specified in the BOP system requirement section of the regulations.
  • Failure data to be reported to both a designated third party and BSEE.
  • Failure analysis and investigations to begin within 90 days of an incident.
  • Independent, third-party qualifications to be submitted to BSEE with the associated permit applications.
  • The operator to provide BOP test results to BSEE within 72 hours after completion of the tests if the agency is unable to witness testing.

“Finalizing this rule will enable BSEE to continue to put the lives and livelihoods of workers first, as well as the protection of our waters and marine habitats,” BSEE Director Kevin Sligh said in a press release.

The rule is set to go into effect Oct. 23.

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Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

BSEE issues alert on hydraulic torque wrench operations

Original article published by Safety+Health

Photo: Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

Washington — In response to the death of a drillship worker who lacked formal training on using a hydraulic torque wrench, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has issued a safety alert.

BSEE says the August 2020 incident occurred in part because the worker didn’t recognize the risk potential of the hydraulic torque wrench, which was stuck, when extracting bolts from a telescopic riser joint flange. While assisting with unlatching the lower marine riser package from the blowout preventer to prepare for a ship relocation, the worker was struck by the wrench and lifted into the air.

The worker hit a riser clamp about 6 feet above the elevated work deck and fell to the rig floor. He received first aid but later died after being transported to the drillship hospital.

An agency investigation determined that failure to initiate stop-work authority, along with discrepancies with drill floor observer roles and responsibilities, contributed to the worker’s death.

BSEE recommendations to operators and contractors:

  • Ensure a job safety analysis captures the limitations of the hydraulic torque wrench when in use.
  • Verify all employees understand the JSA and have been formally trained on operating both hydraulic torque wrenches and hydraulic utility wrenches.
  • Emphasize the enactment of stop-work authority if imminent danger is observed.
  • Expand drill floor observer responsibilities to monitor all aspects of jobs occurring on the rig floor.
  • Consider using a hydraulic torque wrench with a compatible design that corresponds with the beveled edge of the telescopic riser joint.
  • Explore options for employing a load indicator, or a similar design mechanism, onto the hydraulic utility wrench package.
  • Ensure pre-job reviews and promote the sharing of feedback from previous experiences.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.