BSEE: Swing Rope Transfers

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Credits: REUTERS/Umit Bektas

The United States Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has published Safety Alert 456 relating to the dangers inherent to swing rope transfers. The BSEE notes that “personnel transfers using swing ropes and baskets present a considerable risk for offshore workers.” The use of swing ropes is not permitted in some parts of the world.

This is passed on as of interest to members, while noting clearly that IMCA does not recommend the use of swing ropes. (Section 4.4.4, Guidance on the transfer of personnel to and from offshore vessels and structures).

What happened

A recent example of an injury incurred during a swing rope transfer, is a fractured foot sustained by a worker attempting to use a swing rope to board a satellite platform from a work boat. As the Captain manoeuvered the boat, the worker placed his foot on a bumper tire to position himself for the swing. The worker’s foot slipped between the tyre and the boat when the tyre hit the platform, resulting in injury.

A recent example of an injury incurred during a swing rope transfer, is a fractured foot sustained by a worker attempting to use a swing rope to board a satellite platform from a work boat. As the Captain manoeuvered the boat, the worker placed his foot on a bumper tire to position himself for the swing. The worker’s foot slipped between the tyre and the boat when the tyre hit the platform, resulting in injury.

BSEE notes two further injuries in the last five years:

  • An employee lacerated his shin after it struck the rear of a vessel as he was completing a swing;
  • An employee fell into the water between a workboat and a platform when he misjudged the distance between the boat’s deck and the top of a swell during a swing rope transfer. As he made his swing, the wave shifted the boat, moving the landing area. When the employee let go of the swing rope, he fell into the water. He was quickly retrieved from the water and did not sustain injuries.

Recommendations

BSEE recommends that:

  • All offshore personnel transfers are treated as stand-alone operations;
  • Formal risk assessment is conducted before a transfer occurs;
  • There is “Stop work authority” for all persons involved.

Because of the inherent risks involved, BSEE also recommends that alternative methods are used where practicable and that there is routine assessment of the training and competence of everyone who has responsibilities for, and is involved with, personnel transfer.

As noted above, IMCA does not recommend the use of swing ropes.

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Source: IMCA