Safety Alert
From the International Association of Drilling Contractors
ALERT 07 – 37
EMPLOYEE FALLS FROM DERRICK BOARD
WHAT HAPPENED:
The crew stopped tripping in the hole to fill the pipe. The rig is a cold weather rig equipped with a "warming
hut" on the derrick board. Filling the pipe was going to take about fifteen minutes so the derrickman
unhooked his positioning rope and entered the warming hut. The derrickman stated he disconnected his
positioning rope so he could close the hut door. After the pipe was filled he heard the blocks running up and
exited the hut to get a stand of drill pipe. When he left the hut, the derrickman forgot to reattach the derrick
board positioning rope to his harness. As he reached to latch the drill pipe in the elevators, he fell from the
derrick board. His fall was arrested by the board's self retracting lifeline (i.e., SRL) which left him hanging
below the derrick board. The crew swung the air hoist line to him and he was able to get his feet on the
weighted ball and get back on the board. The SRL and harness were replaced and taken out of service due
to the impact.
WHAT CAUSED IT:
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Following the incident the derrickman stated he was preoccupied with a personal issue and did not have
his mind on the job at hand.
The derrickman worked derricks for 2.5 years; however even this experience did not ensure he
performed his job properly.
The trip was not a "typical job" for these crewmembers. Two crewmembers did not show up for work
therefore, the crew "switched" positions. The man who fell from the board was actually the driller (DR).
The rig manager (RM) was running the rig.
The driller (RM) did not ensure either visually or verbally that the derrickman (DR) was properly tied off
before the blocks left the rig floor.
The heater in the hut was not working and a previous derrickman had unplugged the communication
system to use his own 110 volt heater. When his hitch was over he removed his heater and did not plugin the communication system.
The derrickman (DR) that fell was complacent and did not investigate why the communication system
was not working.
The derrickman (DR) removed his positioning rope so he could close the door to the warming hut. It was
stated this is common practice as the design of the door does not allow it to close "around" the rope.
The derrickman (DR) DID NOT remove his SRL as the cable is thin enough to allow the door to close
with it attached.
CORRECTIVE ACTIONS: To address this incident, this company did the following:
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It is absolutely critical to concentrate on the job at hand.
At a minimum the Safe Work Procedures Handbook requires the driller to review a JSA for ALL trips with
crewmembers emphasizing hazard recognition for the different procedures involved in tripping the drill
string.
Special precautions must be taken for jobs performed by individuals working outside their normal roles.
The company’s Safe Work Procedures Handbook requires the driller to ensure at any time during
tripping operations that when the derrickman leaves then reenters the board area he must ensure that
the he is properly tied off and ready for tripping operations to resume.
The company’s “Driller's Ten Commandments” first commandment mandates:
o Thou shall never raise the blocks above the rig floor until you confirm the derrickman is properly
attached to fall restraint.
Check both visually and verbally, use your eyes and the
The Corrective Actions stated in this alert are one company’s attempts to address the incident,
and do not necessarily reflect the position of IADC or the IADC HSE Committee.
This material is presented for information purposes only. Managers & Supervisors should
evaluate this information to determine if it can be applied to their own situations and practices
Copyright © 2005 International Association of Drilling Contractors All rights reserved.
Issued December 2007
Safety Alert
From the International Association of Drilling Contractors
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communication box. This procedure shall be followed every time there is break in the tripping
process such as breaking circulation or any time the derrickman leaves the board area.
Additionally, employees working on the rig floor during trips or any time personnel are in the derrick, they
should assist the driller in monitoring the derrickman's activities.
Rig equipment such as the communication system should NEVER be disabled. Provisions must be
made to ensure nonfunctioning equipment such as the heater and the communication system are
working or scheduled for repair. Formal Action Items must be written and entered in the Action Item
Tracking Database to ensure repairs are completed. Alternative management controls/precautions must
be implemented in the event equipment cannot be repaired prior to initiating work.
Warming huts should be designed to allow the door to close with the positioning rope attached.
The Corrective Actions stated in this alert are one company’s attempts to address the incident,
and do not necessarily reflect the position of IADC or the IADC HSE Committee.
This material is presented for information purposes only. Managers & Supervisors should
evaluate this information to determine if it can be applied to their own situations and practices
Copyright © 2005 International Association of Drilling Contractors All rights reserved.
Issued December 2007
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