Keeping Up with Federal Regulations

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Keeping up with which federal governmental regulatory organization should concern Riggers involved in Offshore Oil Drilling and Production operations can be quite daunting. Bear with us here.

In the recent past the Minerals Management Service (MMS) of the United States Department of the Interior over sought safety and environmental issues of interest to Riggers. This organization later be- came known as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE). On October 1, 2011 a major reorganization of BOEMRE resulted in its replacement with two separate organizations: (1) the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and (2) the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

As it stands today, of interest to Riggers is the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). In addition to training, safety, and incident reporting, it is also responsible for permitting and inspections of offshore oil and gas operations as well as offshore regulatory programs, inspections, spill response, and environmental compliance programs. Their website is at www.bsee.gov

When conducting research on accident, incident, and safety statistics and summary reports, refer- ences can be made to MMS, BOEMRE, and BSEE depending on date.

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According to Joe Sologub, American Petroleum Institute (API) Recommended Practice (RP) Number 2D* committee co-chairman, a group of industry professionals came together between May 2009 and March 2010 and reviewed Offshore Oil Drilling lifting incidents reported from 2006 and 2009. The group was referred to as the SLC or The Safe Lifting Committee. Here are some interesting results† from that review (and see the graph that Rigger.com has produced that follows):

  • Reported annual lift incident and injury totals steadily increased between 2006 and 2009 ◦ Of over 100 total injuries reported among eight drill rig job crafts, Riggers' injuries repres- ented 32%. The next highest segment at 19% were rig crew operators in the rig floor, that relatively small work area where drillpipe is added or removed to and from the drillstring. Crane operator injuries represented less than 2% of the total reported. Lifting related incidents represented 21% of all reported Outer Continental Shelf incidents.
  • Lifting related injuries represented 15% of all reported Outer Continental Shelf injuries
  • Seventeen percent (17%) of all reported Outer Continental Shelf fatalities were lift related

Injuries

After the review, the Safe Lifting Committee concluded that:

  • Of all of the offshore oil drilling rig crafts, the Rigger was the single craft that warranted the most attention to improve safety
  • The major factors contributing to lifting incidents were the failure to apply training know- ledge and the failure to follow established procedures
  • While rigging hardware failures occurred, they were not the predominant factor for incidents
  • In order to be truly classified as a Qualified or Certified Rigger, a Rigger needs considerable hands-on field experience and field training in addition to just classroom training

In the hope of reducing and eliminating lifting incidents, the Safe Lifting Committee made several re- commendations to Operators, Trade Organizations, and Regulators regarding gaps and deficiencies.
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* The American Petroleum Institute (API) publishes many recommended practices (RPs). Recommended Practice 2D is entitled Recommended Practice for Operation and Maintenance of Offshore Cranes. It contains sections covering Riggers and rigging operations.
† Statistical data source: http://new.api.org/meetings/topics/offshore/upload/OCC13.pdf