Equipment failure injures two workers on Woodside's Ngujima-Yin oil vessel

Two Woodside offshore workers were injured when a 500kg load fell after a lifting appliance with unapproved modifications failed but Woodside reported only one injury to the safety regulator.

Equipment failure injures two workers on Woodside's Ngujima-Yin oil vessel
Woodside's Ngujima-Yin FPSO (floating production storage and offloading) vessel off Exmouth, WA. Source: Screenshot of Woodside video

Two workers have been injured on a Woodside vessel off Exmouth when a crane lifting a half-tonne load failed.

The July 24 incident occurred on the Ngujima-Yin oil vessel about 50km northwest of Exmouth.

According to a safety alert issued today by offshore safety regulator NOPSEMA a piping spool was being moved with chains suspended from a trolley that travels along an overhead beam when the trolley ran off the end of the beam.

NOPSEMA was notified on July 24 that one worker had suffered a leg injury and had been sent onshore for medical treatment, the regulator's spokesperson said.

Boiling Cold understands the leg of the transferred worker was pinned between the fallen piping spool and another object. It is also understood another worker was hit on the helmet by the falling chain block and knocked out.

Boiling Cold understands Woodside did not notify the regulator about the worker who was knocked out.    

NOPSEMA sent inspectors to the Ngujima-Yin to investigate the incident.

Detail of a beam trolley crane and end stops.
Detail of a typical beam trolley. Source: NOPSEMA safety alert.

Their preliminary finding is that the end stops on the beam intended to stop the trolley from falling off had unapproved modifications and were not fit for purpose. In addition, a plan to perform the lift safely was not followed.

A NOPSEMA spokesperson said the inspectors concluded that multiple system failures led to the incident, and there was an ongoing risk to the workforce.

In response, a week ago, the regulator issued Woodside a prohibition notice that banned the use of beam-and-trolley type lifting appliances on the Ngujima-Yin without the sign off by the offshore installation manager that any risk was managed.

The Ngujima-Yin incident occurred less than three weeks after two workers removing Santos' Sinbad platform near Varanus Island were nearly killed when the platform topsides above them moved uncontrollably.

Two terrifying videos made clear the danger the workers hanging on the side of the supporting monopod were in.

Out of control lift of platform off WA could have killed
Terrifying video shows an offshore lift that went badly wrong off the WA coast in early July endangering workers hanging off a platform and those on the vessel.

In just one month, four workers could have been seriously injured or killed in the waters off WA, highlighting the dangerous nature of offshore work and lifting in particular.

NOPSEMA, which regulates activities in Commonwealth waters, has been notified of numerous dangerous incidents involving lifting equipment and cranes and conducted a workshop on crane safety for the industry in July.

The Sinbad incident in State waters is additional to the ones notified to NOPSEMA.

NOPSEMA was unable to comment on the health of the workers.

Boiling Cold informed Woodside of its understanding of the incident and asked about the health of the workers, whether the company immediately reported both injuries to NOPSEMA, the cause of the incident and what it had done to prevent a recurrence,

Woodside did not respond.

The Ngujima-Yin was converted into an FPSO in 2008 to service the Vincent oil fields from a crude oil carrier built in 2000. During 2018 it was taken off station to a dockyard in Singapore for modifications to enable it to process oil from additional fields that form part of Woodside's great Enfield development.

The Greater Enfield project is operated and 60 per cent owned by Woodside. Mitsui, which operates the Waitsia gas project in the Perth Basin, owns the remaining 40 per cent.

Main image: Woodside's Ngujima-Yin FPSO (floating production storage and offloading) vessel off Exmouth, WA. Source: Screenshot of Woodside video.