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Grating hazards on offshore platforms: Safety agency issues safety alert

Photo: francisblack/iStockphoto

Washington — In response to an “increase in incidents involving grating” on offshore energy platforms, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has issued a safety alert.

The agency says the incidents occurred because workers misjudged grating integrity and/or didn’t understand how physical changes affect the integrity of grating. The alert briefly details three incidents that were reported to the agency in the past two years, including one that resulted in a worker’s death.

BSEE recommendations to operators and contractors:

  • Train personnel on the dangers of insufficient grating.
  • Create or revise procedures for the removal and replacement of grating to ensure removal preparations don’t create a more hazardous walking and working surface.
  • Procedures should provide orderly steps conducive to working on small areas of affected grating at a time and identify safe working practices.
  • When replacing deteriorated grating, assume the grating is unsafe to walk on without fall protection.
  • Be aware that modifications to a sheet of grating can affect the rated load capacity.
  • Practice preventive maintenance rather than reactive maintenance whenever possible.
  • Replace grating before it’s deemed hazardous.

“When replacing grating, demolition operations such as ripping grating (cutting the crossbars along a sheet), needle or chisel gunning, and removing anchor welds can affect a section of grating’s ability to hold personnel or equipment,” BSEE says. “The ability of deteriorated grating to hold weight cannot be determined visually or by prior experience, especially after demolition operations have begun.”

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