Task Planning and Risk Assessment

At each worksite, potential dropped object hazards must be identified.

Tools, equipment, structures, lights, suspended loads, temporary or portable appliances and any pre-existing loose items will always be a threat. Effective task planning and risk assessment will reduce the consequences and eliminate exposure to personnel.

Task Planning and Risk Assessment should include but not be limited to:

  • Pre and Post Inspections of Worksite
    (remember loose items may have been there for years)
  • Load Inspections prior to any lift
    (certification, equipment, loose items)
  • Working conditions, equipment and operative’s competence
    (consider behavioural influences too)
  • Realistic risk-based identification of dropped object hazards to ensure correct application of controls and resources
    (as opposed to identification of dropped object hazards in general)
  • Potential path of travel should the identified item drop
    (cone of exposure)
  • Understanding each phase of the task, piece of equipment being employed and the associated hazards and challenges
    (Operators actions are likely to create scenarios where dropped objects can occur)
  • Effective control of service partner and/or temporary equipment
    (be ready to help, not everyone will be familiar with every element of dropped object prevention best practice).

Wherever possible, eliminate unnecessary dropped object hazards at source. For those items that remain, carefully assess the likelihood of static or dynamic failure (based on common causes, experience and site-specific alerts) and determine the potential severity should it fall (using the DROPS Calculator).
Remember that controls may already be in place (such as procedures, checklists, safety wires etc), so be prepared to identify these and ensure they are adequate. Where new physical controls are recommended, always consider the potential for new dropped object hazards. Mats, covers and nets can fall too.
Additional controls will be subject to Management of Change processes.

Consider the potential path that a dropped object may take, deflection, weather factors. Environmental factors, dynamic factors and object shape will affect the shape of the cone. If the Object falls overboard, are there subsea assets or critical infrastructure that may be affected?

Environmental Factors

Gravity is an inherent hazard in every workplace. When combined with constant exposure, sea motion and severe weather conditions, the risk of dropped objects increases significantly. During all tasks, particularly lifting and working at height, take special care to identify and mitigate dropped object incidents that can be caused by environmental factors.

  • Temperature (cold hands, sweaty hands, materials perishing)
  • Winds and Helicopter Downdrafts (box lids, doors, signage, meteorological equipment, stacked items)
  • Sea Motion (stacked items, shelving, loose items, suspended items)
  • Ice and Snow (icicles, ice build-up, hard packed snow – can also obscure loose items)
  • Rain (accumulations in buckets and vessles can add significant weight)
  • Mud and Sand (can add weight but also obscures loose items, particularly on cargo units)

Fog poor sunligt, darkness can also become contributing factors when vision is critical to safe operations.