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Fatigue, Poor Training Contributed to Offshore Worker’s Death Aboard Petrobras 10000 Drillship


Poor training and fatigue are among the factors that led to the tragic death of an offshore worker aboard the Petrobras 10000 drillship a little more than a year ago.

Contract Worker Pinned During Pipe Handling Operations

The unidentified contractor died shortly before 5:00 a.m. on December 2, 2017, while the vessel was positioned in the Gulf of Mexico, 172 miles south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana.

The man moved into a hazardous area during  a pipe moving operation on the auxiliary drill floor. Facing away from the operation, he was positioned in a pinch point just as a skate was mobilized. As a result, the worker became pinned between the skate’s loading arm platform and a metal post.

Although the worker received immediate medical attention, he passed away on the rig.

12-Hour Shift Drill Crew’s First After 21 Days Off

The incident occurred near the end of a 12-hour shift, on the drill crews’ first day back after 21 days off.

“Some members of the drill crew reported getting minimal sleep in the 24 hours or more prior to the incident,” the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) stated in a report dated February 13th. “In addition, the crew had been performing the repetitive tasks of picking up and racking back the drill pipe. Therefore, complacency and fatigue could have contributed to the incident.”

The Bureau also noted  a “lack of understanding, enforcement and/or regard” for using the drill floor zone areas and where to safely stand during operations. Among other things, the pinch point wasn’t clearly marked as a hazard and did not appear on any known risk assessment.

Drill Crew Unfamiliar with Petrobras 10000, Lacked Formal Training

Finally, the drill crew members were considered short-service employees, and none had worked on the vessel for more than three months.

While they received training for pipe picking up, the accident shift marked the first time they performed that task aboard the Petrobras 10000 outside of a training environment.

“There was no formal training to operate the skate, and personnel generally described that the victim was the most experienced operating skates, and was helping the skate operator learn how to operate it during the shift of the incident,” the report concludes. “Therefore, a lack of training, familiarity and experience with the drill floor equipment and layout on this drillship could have contributed to the incident.”

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Our Undefeated Maritime Lawyers continue to investigate the fatal accident aboard the Petrobras 10000 drillship, and will post additional updates should new information become available.

In addition to being Undefeated, our Experienced Offshore Accident Attorneys have won over $1 billion for our clients, including hundreds of offshore workers injured or tragically killed aboard oil rigs, platforms, and drillships off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana.

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