Offshore Platform Drilling Safety – Industrial Stair Injury Liability & Emergency Medical Evacuation

Working aboard offshore drilling platforms has long been considered one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. As the number of offshore platforms constantly increases, more and more workers are being exposed to the potential hazards and risks associated with the industrial marine drilling environment. According to the Health and Safety Executive: Offshore Safety Statistics Bulletin of 2006/2007, the number of offshore platform workers rose 22.1% from 2006 to 2007 to a total of 28,176 personnel. Of these workers that year, there were 2 fatalities and 39 major injuries reported. Most of these injuries were related to slips, trips, falls, being trapped, struck by equipment, or injuries associated with lifting, pulling or pushing loads.

Offshore safety practices are of the utmost importance to limit catastrophic injury, fatality, corporate liability, and major equipment damage via explosions. Since offshore platforms are typically isolated from conventional emergency personnel and equipment, successful response to emergency situations requires complete personnel cooperation. Total cooperation is only obtained through rigorous preparation, training and the use of the appropriate safety equipment to minimize injury. While the offshore environment is an isolated one, successful life saving procedures must incorporate equipment that minimizes both response time and personnel risk of injury or back strain.

A new powered stair chair was recently developed in order to meet the requirement of carrying injured offshore personnel up the steep, narrow flights of stairs to the helipad for evacuation to hospital care. This new portable MÖV stairlift provides a safe solution to transporting injured personnel on stairs. The lightweight stairlift can carry up to a 500 lb patient up or down stairs at the touch of a button. The chair has been designed for ease of use and most importantly safety. The stair chair can be stopped at any point on the stairs without it slipping or falling down the stairs. The powered chair uses a reliable 24VDC drive train and easily charged battery pack. Even though the chair is capable of navigating an astonishing 18 full flights of stairs at 300 lbs on a single charge, extra easy swap battery packs can be obtained to meet the user’s needs. The industrial MÖV requires very little maintenance and has been manufactured to be resistant to the corrosion of the marine seawater environment.

Another critical feature that the MÖV stair lift offers offshore personnel is its ability to function as an equipment transport. With the available material rack attachment, the MÖV performs in hauling toolboxes, valves, and other gear weighing up to 500lbs up and down the stairs on offshore platforms. This aspect, allows workers to avoid back strain and injury in hauling equipment to and from necessary locations on the platform.

The MÖV chair has proven to be an effective resource in offshore safety and is currently being used on many of the offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. An emergency medical coordinator using the MÖV chair recently commented, “Our [offshore] facility had patients go down with injuries on the lowest offshore platform level. The evacuation required a climb of 300 stairs, taking as long as 45-55 minutes to reach the top of the helipad. The MÖV Power Chair turned this operation into a two-man, three-point contact evacuation taking 12-15 minutes.” The MÖV chair allowed a reduction in manpower of 83% and reducing evacuation time by more than 78%.