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The National Offshore Petroleum, Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) issued a safety alert in November, relating to the risks associated with electric storage batteries. They also announced the prosecution of a contractor, relating to a serious incident involving a diver.

Battery fireA recent Safety Alert posted by NOPSEMA, about a fire that occurred in the battery room on a production facility, may be of interest. The fire was investigated and believed to have been caused by leaking electrolyte fluid contacting a conductive metal cabinet frame in the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) battery room.

More information about the incident and key lessons can be found in NOPSEMA Safety Alert 61.

If you think that incidents of this nature only occur on large installations, ADAS recently became aware of a similar occurrence on a small diving barge. The communications terminals were left disconnected and resting on a metallic bench, causing a short circuit. A 12 volt battery powering the system subsequently overheated and caught fire. Had it not been for smoke and fire detection equipment in the battery container, the fire may have become a far more serious incident.

NOPSEMA also recently announced the successful prosecution of an employer as a result of an incident involving a diver. The company has been fined $75,000 for failing to:

  • take all reasonably practicable steps to implement and maintain systems of work, that were safe and without risk to health, and
  • provide employees with the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary for them to carry out their work in a manner that was safe and without risk to health.

Employers are reminded to ensure that their staff are trained in the use of all equipment they will be asked to use and to not assume that a diver “knows how to do it”.

Read the full announcement here.

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