A pioneering solution to dropped objects in the offshore energy industry Dropsafe Net received type approval from ABS for meeting the Drops Prevention Standard.
The approval validates the safety approach of major offshore and maritime companies.
ABS Guide for Dropped Object Prevention on Offshore Units and Installations is an equipment certification scheme, designed to complement continuous safety improvements in the offshore and maritime sectors.
In 2017, ABS developed the Dropped Object Standardisation Scheme, following industry reports of an increasing rate of dropped object (DO) incidents and the absence of industry standards for the design of equipment and prevention systems.
The risk posed by DO incidents is quite high in the offshore energy and wider maritime sectors. When developing the first-in-market standardisation, ABS uncovered that DO incidents accounted for an average of 14% of fatalities in the US upstream oil and gas industry.
Recognising the threat to personnel safety, finances and reputation, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) teams globally have adopted a wide range of DO prevention solutions and specifications.
However, in the absence of recognised standards, the adapted procedures have often proven to be unreliable. It has also been challenging for safety-minded site managers and businesses to validate their approach in sites where robust prevention mechanisms have been deployed.
To address the issue, the ABS launched the Dropped Object Standardisation Scheme that provides a means of assessing the health and safety qualities of DO mitigation technology for the offshore and maritime sectors.
When a manufacturer achieves ABS type approval for DO prevention technology, their product receives a design approval in the form of a Product Design Assessment (PDA). Their manufacturing facilities are audited and issued a Manufacturing Assessment Certificate (MA).
The certifications enable the manufacturer to demonstrate a commitment to the highest standards of design and production while offering system integrators a selection of improved equipment and prevention systems they can apply at the time of the asset construction or in-service operation. This demonstrates their responsible approach to DO mitigation.
The Dropsafe Net is a stainless-steel mesh net that securely encloses and tethers overhead fixtures to prevent them from falling from height and threatening the safety of personnel. The net is already used by over 300 companies in the oil and gas sector worldwide.
ABS director Demetri Stroubakis said: “Safety is at the heart of ABS’ 150-year mission to promote the security of life and property and preserve the natural environment. Reducing the risks posed by dropped objects is an important step in the ambition to continually improve the safety performance of our industry.”
Dropsafe commercial director Mike Rice said: “Whilst the offshore and maritime sectors have always demonstrated a strong capacity to self-regulate without standardisation in place, the key to leading the way in health and safety standards, particularly in dropped object prevention, is to work with a class body, which provides a program that is prescriptive in nature.
“By achieving ABS type approval not only can we demonstrate that the Dropsafe Net meets recognised industry standards but also allow offshore and maritime players already implementing the solution to validate their safety equipment and have confidence in their procurement decisions. We look forward to taking Dropsafe’s wider range of products through the type approval process in due course.”
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