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Feds: Worker who fell 50 feet didn't use lifeline

3 months 4 weeks 17 hours ago Sunday, January 23 2022 Jan 23, 2022 January 23, 2022 2:24 PM January 23, 2022 in News
Source: Associated Press
Photo: Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A worker on a crew replacing corroded grating on an oil platform wasn’t wearing his safety lifeline when he fell to his death off Louisiana in May 2020, the federal offshore safety agency says.

The man stood on grating after he and another worker had cut through its metal crossbars so it could be removed in sections, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said. He died after falling 50 feet (15 meters).

The job safety plan said such cutting, called ripping, should be done in sections but the crew “proceeded to rip the entirety of the work area,” weakening it, according to the report.

Workers had set out the safety gear called a self-retracting lanyard but didn’t put it on, the report said.

The rig operator and the man’s supervisors also contributed to the accident, the agency said.

The man was not identified. His employer, Fluid Crane and Construction Co. of New Iberia, had no comment.

The rig’s operator, Fieldwood Energy LLC, is reorganizing under a bankruptcy court administrator. Its website shows only the administrator as a contact. Neither the administrator nor Fieldwood’s bankruptcy attorneys responded to emails requesting comment.

Fieldwood didn’t start repairs until May 2020 even though inspections in 2018 and 2019 found 30% and then 60% of the deck grating in poor shape, the agency’s report said.

Supervisors never went to the work area, so they couldn’t make sure workers wore safety gear, it said. “Nor could they stop work after witnessing the unsafe actions of the construction crew.”

The same day it issued the report, the bureau released its third safety alert in three years involving gratings.

This one said companies need to ensure that workers who replace gratings on offshore platforms understand that it isn’t safe to stand or walk on them after cutting their crossbars or melting welds that keep them in place.

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