Effective Date: 7/23/2001

U.S. Department of the Interior
Minerals Management Service
Gulf of Mexico OCS Region

Safety Alert No. 196
July 23, 2001

Contact: Jack Leezy


During routine crane operations on a fixed platform, the platform crane was being used to move various pieces of equipment on and off an offshore supply boat when the ballring failed. This failure resulted in the crane separating from the pedestal and falling 85 feet to the deck of the supply vessel. The crane operator received serious injuries as a result of this incident when he also fell 85 feet to the deck of the supply vessel.

The investigation revealed that the crane operator attempted to pick up a load outside the designed safe working limits of the crane. This attempt resulted in the aforementioned ballring failure. This ballring design was not in accordance with the current edition of API Specification 2C - Specification for Offshore Cranes. Additionally, the control handles configuration was also not in accordance with the current 2C specifications.

Other deficiencies found during the investigation include the following:

The load chart did not reflect the load line configuration at the time of the incident.
The manufacturer of the crane had not been identified in determining maintenance required by the manufacturer.

It is recommended that lessees inventory their cranes and determine that appropriate manufacturer's recommended maintenance is being performed. It is further suggested that lessees conduct an analysis to determine if their cranes meet the design specification of the current edition of API Specification 2C and assess the risk of any hazards created by those cranes that do not meet the current 2C specifications.

The investigation also revealed that the crane operators assigned to this job felt pressured to perform crane operations under questionable circumstances. Therefore, MMS also recommends that lessees emphasize to their field personnel the authority of the crane operator in his decision to stop any lifting operation that he deems to be unsafe.


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