The Dropsafe Net, a pioneering solution to dropped objects in the offshore energy industry, has received type approval recognition from ABS in accordance with the new “ABS Guide for Dropped Object Prevention on Offshore Units and Installations”. This equipment certification scheme is set to complement continuous safety improvements in the offshore and maritime sectors.
The Dropped Object Standardisation Scheme was developed in 2017 by ABS, 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 well-established in the offshore energy and wider maritime sectors. When developing this 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 this threat to personnel safety, as well as finances and reputation, HSE teams globally have adopted a wide range of DO prevention solutions and specifications – but in the absence of recognised standards, adapted procedures have often proven to be of variable effectiveness. Furthermore, where robust prevention mechanisms have been deployed, it has been challenging for safety-minded site managers and businesses to validate their approach.
Addressing this shortfall, the Dropped Object Standardisation Scheme launched by ABS 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 their DO prevention technology, their product receives a design approval in the form of a Product Design Assessment (PDA), and their manufacturing facilities are audited and issued a Manufacturing Assessment Certificate, (MA).
This enables the manufacturer to demonstrate a commitment to the highest standards of design and production while, in turn, 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. In turn, this demonstrates their responsible approach to DO mitigation.
The Dropsafe Net is a stainless-steel mesh net which securely encloses and tethers overhead fixtures to prevent them falling from height and threatening the safety of personnel. With Dropsafe Nets already in use by over 300 companies in the oil and gas sector worldwide, achieving the new ABS Type Approval validates the safety approach taken by many of the major stakeholders in the offshore industry.
Demetri Stroubakis, ABS Director, 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, stated that “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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