Offshore Oil Platform Worker Suffers Devastating Injuries in Workplace Accident


Oil Rig Expert WitnessThis case involves a man who was employed by an offshore drilling company in Florida. He worked as a roughneck, and was charged with helping to collect and organize pipes from the drill string as it was being extracted from the deep ocean well being drilled by the rig. As the pipes were removed from the wells the man helped apply industrial strength fasteners that were used to secure the pipes into storage racks. In this instance, the fastener wasn’t adequately secured and a large metal pipe fell on the head of the man, causing catastrophic injuries.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you familiar with the design and safety mechanisms of these fasteners?

Expert Witness Response E-008914

I am familiar with the design and safety aspects of industrial shackles. Based on the limited description of the incident, it appears that the failure of the fastener was related to improper assembly, in that a crucial pin was not installed. The purpose of the pin is as a safety device to prevent the nut which retains the pin to the clevis body from coming loose. If the nut becomes loose or unscrewed, the pin can separate from the clevis body, thus resulting in failure of the fastener. Other issues to be evaluated include 1.) Was the working load compatible with the selected fastener? 2.) What were the load directions on the fastener, i.e. were there any bending loads, unstable loads, side loads, or eccentric loads? Having a metal string to attach the cotter pin to the fastener is certainly a good idea and should be standard industry practice to ensure that the cotter pin is readily available for use.

Expert Witness Response E-009103

I am very familiar with the shackles mentioned in this case, and am well aware of the metal strings that attach cotter pin to shackle. I have served as an expert on similar cases that involve product design, quality system and procedure development for oil & gas service companies. Specifically, I am very experienced with equipment design and development. I work hand-in-hand with numerous corporations in the oil & gas industry. I audit these organizations for quality, process, system, and safety aspects of their operations. I also evaluate and rate lifting devices for a number of these types of clients and well as others. I am also very well-versed in and provide training in these areas as well as in root cause analysis, which is a scientific method by which we can determine why failures and accidents occur.

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