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BSEE issues alert on hydraulic torque wrench operations

Aug 01, 2023Aug 01, 2023

Washington — In response to the death of a drillship worker who lacked formal training on using a hydraulic torque wrench, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has issued a safety alert.

BSEE says the August 2020 incident occurred in part because the worker didn’t recognize the risk potential of the hydraulic torque wrench, which was stuck, when extracting bolts from a telescopic riser joint flange. While assisting with unlatching the lower marine riser package from the blowout preventer to prepare for a ship relocation, the worker was struck by the wrench and lifted into the air.

The worker hit a riser clamp about 6 feet above the elevated work deck and fell to the rig floor. He received first aid but later died after being transported to the drillship hospital.

An agency investigation determined that failure to initiate stop-work authority, along with discrepancies with drill floor observer roles and responsibilities, contributed to the worker’s death.

BSEE recommendations to operators and contractors:

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