Photo: Eugene Island 331; Source: Renaissance Offshore

Death on Renaissance’s Gulf of Mexico platform was preventable, BSEE said

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has released the report of its panel investigation into a fatality aboard Renaissance Offshore’s Eugene Island 331 B platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

The incident on the Eugene Island 331 platform occurred in May 2019, resulting in the death of one worker. A 54-year-old offshore worker fell into the water from Renaissance’s platform through a missing grating.

The Coast Guard initiated a search and rescue operation which yielded no results. The Coast Guard used 21 assets to search approximately 3,701 square miles over 56 hours.

The man – a night-time production operator – was identified as missing from the platform during morning rounds last week. The personnel onboard the platform, located 170 miles off New Orleans, noticed a section of grating displaced in the upright position with the missing person’s hardhat and clipboard next to the grating in the wellbay deck.

Incident site at Eugene Island 331 B – photo taken 29 May 2019 – Source: BSEE
Incident site at Eugene Island 331 B – photo taken 29 May 2019 – Source: BSEE

Before the incident, the wellbay deck area was taped off with red “DANGER” tape, but the area was not hard barricaded to prevent the flow of personnel.

The BSEE said launched its investigation in June 2019 and revealed its findings on Thursday. The panel, including BSEE subject matter experts, engineers, inspectors, and investigators conducted its investigation of the incident to determine the cause and contributing factors that led to the fatality of a night shift production operator employed by Wood Group.

After a thorough investigation and analysis of the incident, BSEE’s panel made several recommendations to reduce the likelihood of similar events in the future.

In its findings, BSEE stated that the incident was preventable and published several conclusions based on the investigation regarding the fatal incident.

The Bureau claimed that Renaissance failed to maintain all of its walking and working surfaces on the facility in a safe condition.

Between the date range of 15 July 2017 through and including 4 April 2019 there were numerous instances in which deficient grating had been identified for corrective action in and around the wellbay.

Supervisors did not fulfil their respective responsibilities within the relevant, established safe work practices when they failed to promptly correct or prevent employees from accessing the uncorrected and uncontrolled walking and working surface hazard area”, the BSEE said.

BSEE also said that Renaissance did not promptly correct or barricade the walking and working surface hazard after it was identified and marked as a foreseeable, or immediate, life-threatening hazard.

The safety body also noted that supervisory personnel should have physically closed off the marked “DANGER” area.