A serious lifting accident occurred on 7 December 2017 on the Maersk Interceptor jack-up facility operated by Maersk Drilling AS (Maersk), which was then working for Aker BP on the Tambar field in the Norwegian North Sea.
This incident occurred in connection with lifting and installing a seawater pump. Four people took part in the work, which involved the use of a steel sling. The latter parted, and the pump fell down.
A power cable attached to the pump was pulled along in the fall and hit two people who were in the vicinity. One of them fell into the sea and died, while the other was seriously injured. Under slightly different circumstances, several lives could have been lost.
The incident also had material and financial consequences.
Direct and underlying causes
The direct cause of the incident was that the lifting sling broke because it was overloaded.
Underlying causes were multiple and complex, and can be related to design weaknesses and inadequacies in following these up, failure to identify risk at several levels, training, and planning and work practice.
The investigation has identified a number of regulatory breaches. These relate to:
- planning the work process
- design of lifting equipment
- use of information and continuous improvement
- education and training
- use of lifting facilities and equipment
- follow-up of enterprise of competence
- barriers and cordons.
Maersk has been given until 31 May 2018 to explain to the PSA how these nonconformities will be dealt with.
On the basis of the preliminary findings from the investigation, the PSA issued an order to Maersk in January 2018. The latter applied to systems for follow-up and use of portable lifting equipment and to a requirement to identify and review all operations related to the materials handling process for the installation of seawater pumps.
On 8 January 2018, the PSA issued the following order to Maersk Drilling Norge (Maersk):
Pursuant to section 69 of the framework regulations on administrative decisions, see sections 6 and 21 of the management regulations on management of health, safety and the environment and on follow-up respectively, sections 13 and 69 of the facilities regulations on materials handling and on lifting appliances and lifting gear respectively, and sections 92 and 33 of the activities regulations on lifting operations and on organisation of work respectively, Maersk Drilling Norge AS is given the following order.
1. Review systems for follow-up and use of portable lifting equipment on all facilities in use on the Norwegian continental shelf, including internal control, training of personnel using such equipment and transferring experience with using such equipment.
2. Systematically identify and review all operations related to the materials handling process for the installation of seawater pumps on all facilities in use on the Norwegian continental shelf, identify risks and implement necessary measures.
The deadline for compliance with this order is set to 28 February 2018. Maersk Drilling Norge AS is requested to present a plan for complying with the order no later than 15 January 2018.