Kvaerner’s internal investigation following from the serious crane accident at the Verdal yard 8 February 2012 has been completed and the main findings have been presented to the Police and the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority.
The investigation report examines the accident in detail, reviews the existing health and safety procedures in place for work at heights, and gives further recommendations to improve safety by specific measures and actions. This accident could have been avoided if more safety barriers had been in place, been more precise and been followed.
The construction and related operations in conjunction with the production of large jacket structures at Kvaerner’s yard at Verdal involve lifting operations and work at height. The accident occurred when a crawler crane with a boom of 51.8 meter and a jib of 30.4 meter, and outfitted with a personnel basket was provided to perform the final inspection of a windmilljacket. The crane driver and a signal man were controlling the crane operation. The signal man was working from the personnel basket. To enable inspection on the sea side of the jacket the jib was positioned over the top of the jacket.
As the boom was gradually lowered, the jib came in contact with the railing at the top of the jacket. The jib collapsed in two steps, first when the inner part of the jib made contact with the inner top part of the jacket, and then again when the jib hit the outer part of the jacket. The jib collapsed and caused the wire suspending the basket to break at the jib tip. The basket with personnel, all secured by safety harness attached to the basket, fell to the barge deck. When the jib made contact with the jacket structure, the basket was approximately 32 meters above the barge deck. The first jib-collapse brought the basket down by 9 meters, and the second collapse by another 8 meters. The wire broke as the basket was approximately 15 meters above the barge deck. The basket hit the jacket structure during the fall. All three persons in the basket were severely injured as a consequence of the fall.
The health condition of all three is progressing and they are recuperating.
“An accident like this is unacceptable and should not happen in Kvaerner. We have taken this very seriously and our own investigation team has identified the main causes and defined a number of recommendations in order for us to further improve our HSE performance. These recommendations will be put into action immediately so that we can strengthen our clear safety rules in order to prevent such accidents from happening”, says Jan Arve Haugan, President & CEO in Kvaerner.
The core content of these recommendations are related to improvements in the organisation of work at the yard, reinforced safety barriers during work at height and implementation of additional task specific risk assessments for operations utilising personnel in baskets.
Offshore WIND staff, March 13, 2012; Image: lvaerner