In this series, our head of Rig Inspection Services Steven Lee shares tips on how operators and owners can get through rig inspections with flying colours – and which pitfalls to avoid! Mr Lee has more than a hundred rig inspections under his belt, from all parts of the world. In this chapter we are looking at Dropped Objects.
Dropped Objects are one of the biggest hazards to personnel and equipment on drilling rigs. Therefore during a rig inspection, the team will always review how those hazards are managed. This would typically include a review of the last third-party inspection report and how any findings were closed out. Any legacy items would be captured by the rig inspection team and documented as a non-conformance.
The DROPS management system picture books would be sample checked for completeness and accuracy, e.g. when they were last updated. If it has been several years then, potentially, equipment at height has been modified or removed, or new equipment installed.
It is important to maintain the condition of any DROPS-related equipment in order for it to fulfil its intended purpose. For example, safety securing slings or nets may have been fitted, but are they still fit for purpose? They could be corroded due to environmental exposure and many such devices have a defined lifespan determined by the manufacturer that should be heeded.
Control of working at height and the associated tools is also an aspect that will be reviewed. For example, prior to conducting the derrick inspection, the team would ask to see the tools aloft register. If there have been no recent entries on an operational rig then questions would be asked as to whether maintenance is being carried out or if working at height procedures are being followed.
The Working At Height toolkit would also be sample checked for completeness and condition of the tools. If tools are missing, then unsuitable tools could be used instead and potentially lead to an incident. If tools or their lanyards are in poor condition then they could fail and also potentially lead to an incident.
There are well-established industry guidance documents relating to DROPS. Having the rig crew fully conversant with such guidance will be a benefit to their own safety and also reduce the likelihood of any serious findings being made during a rig inspection.