Worker killed on Shelf rig Thornton

Vol 24, PW 19 (12 Aug 21) News in Brief

Shelf Drilling is introducing heightened safety measures on its jack-ups with ONGC after a freak accident killed a worker on rig CE Thornton.

Semi-skilled (roustabout) Donald D'Mello was killed on June 23 (2021) when the hatch cover fell on him while climbing out of the rig’s heavy tool room below the main deck where he was fetching some kit. In mid-July, a team from ONGC’s Delhi-based HSE division submitted a report after a rig visit on June 25.

"Non-compliance of the safety management system and [the] decision to let injured person (D’Mello) work alone near the hatch led to this unfortunate incident," says the report. "The incident was a result of [a] complete failure in anticipating the outcome of events that took place [and] clearly shows that the persons involved in the operation at the site did not engage in in-depth HSSE discussions during the planning and execution stages."

An ONGC source adds safety norms make it mandatory that two people are present when working in confined spaces such as the tool room. "Here, the other person was standing one deck above and was of no assistance when the hatch cover fell on the worker."

When opened, the rig owner should ensure the hatch cover is at 180 or at least 130 degrees to the floor. "On Thornton, the hatch cover was at around 90 degrees," adds a source, blaming Shelf for the clutter around the hatch.

"Two of the three hinges of the hatch cover were damaged or broken," he said. ONGC said Mumbai-based workforce agency OCS Services hired D’Mello for Shelf.

A Shelf source said the company had learnt from the accident and is introducing remedial measures. For a complete breakdown of all offshore rigs operating and expected in Indian waters, click here