A lack of training with hydraulic torque wrenches and a lack of understanding of the risks associated with the riser were among the major contributing factors that resulted in a fatality on the Pacific Khamsin drillship, according to a new report from the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). BSEE’s panel investigation report on the 23 August 2020 incident in the Gulf of Mexico also cited a failure to initiate a stop work authority as another contributing factor.
The drillship was under contract with Total E&P, conducting well operations in Garden Banks Block 1003, approximately 174 miles offshore Louisiana when the incident occurred. It resulted in the fatality of a rig floor crew member who was operating a hydraulic torque wrench while attempting to extract bolts from a telescopic joint flange.
Based on its findings, BSEE has issued a safety alert to the industry, which recommends that operators and contractors ensure the job safety analysis captures the limitations of the hydraulic torque wrench when in use; verify all employees understand the job safety analysis and have been formally trained on operating the hydraulic torque wrench; expand the Drill Floor Observer responsibilities to monitor all aspects of jobs occurring on the rig floor; and explore options for employing a load indicator, or a similar design mechanism onto the HUW package.
The panel included BSEE subject matter experts, engineers, inspectors and specialized investigators.