How to Survive a Rig Inspection: Part 11

Lifting Equipment

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 lifting equipment.

An integral part of an offshore drilling rig’s operation is the ability to lift and move equipment; from the transfer of stores and personnel from supply vessels to the constant need for tubulars to be transferred in and out of the drill floor area during drilling operations.

Lifting equipment should be subject to regular inspections, typically on an annual or biannual basis, depending on geographical regulatory requirements. Lifting equipment is also often subject to classification 5 yearly proof loading. However, not all items found on a drilling rig fall into this category – drilling derricks and BOP handling systems for example.

A rig inspection team is initially going to require a review of the certification for the lifting equipment and then verify that the certificates are aligned with the equipment serialization. Visual and functional inspection of the equipment will then be completed.

One of the problems we have encountered when conducting documentation reviews is that the detailed lifting equipment surveys often have large numbers of defects recorded. Unfortunately, what has been seen is that although defects were identified they are not actioned and are outstanding. This is an area that good inspection teams will focus on.

Generally, offshore cranes utilise hydraulic systems that are either electrically or diesel engine driven. Inherently these require ongoing maintenance and good housekeeping standards. Fire hazards associated with oil leaks and oil-soaked rags are all too common.

Practical demonstration of crane operations and the function testing of safety devices are crucial to any rig acceptance. It is my experience that safety devices have been found to be defective when tested. A frequently overlooked safety feature is the cranes’ load cells, which are often found to lack any regular calibration.

The success of an inspection is down to a common theme of good housekeeping standards and following up on any defects that are raised during the conduction of the regular detailed inspections.

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