Improper welding, safety practices led to deadly rig blast: panel

04 November 2013 20:08  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A worker welding a pipe segment to an oil tank accidentally ignited hydrocarbon vapours, leading to the 16 November 2012 explosion and fire that resulted in three deaths and numerous injuries above a Black Elk Energy drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, federal investigators announced on Monday.

An investigation panel comprised of Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the US Coast Guard identified several actions by Black Elk and its contractors that led to the accident.

Among the issued found by the panel was a lack of adherence to Black Elk’s documented welding procedures and contractors failing to ensure proper communication and establish an effective safety culture.

The panel recommended improved communications, better definition of the chain of command, safer work practices and a review of methods of stopping work when unsafe operations have been identified.

Black Elk Energy did not immediately return a request for comment on the panel’s announcement.

By: Jeremy Pafford
+1 713 525 2653

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