BSEE establishes investigation panels to address recent GOM incidents

June 04, 2019
Incident site at Chevron's Green Canyon Block 205, Platform "A". Photo: BSEE.

NEW ORLEANS -- Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Gulf of Mexico Regional Director Lars Herbst has established two panels to investigate two serious incidents that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico last week.

The first investigation will focus on a man-overboard/missing person incident that occurred Wednesday at Eugene Island Block 331, Platform “B”. The Renaissance Offshore LLC platform is located about 170 mi southwest of New Orleans. The second will investigate a fatality that occurred Saturday, at Chevron’s Green Canyon Block 205, Platform “A” (Genesis) about 150 mi southwest of New Orleans.

“The safety of workers must be of the utmost priority for offshore operators,” said Gulf of Mexico Regional Director Herbst. “Both incidents last week involved workers falling through platform decks to a lower elevation or to the water’s surface. We are issuing a safety alert to the industry with recommendations to reduce the likelihood of similar incidents in the future.”

A safety alert is a tool used by BSEE to inform the offshore oil and gas industry of the circumstances surrounding a potential safety issue. It also contains recommendations that help operators avoid potential similar incidents.

BSEE will work closely with the U.S. Coast Guard’s New Orleans Investigations Unit to review the information provided through interviews by the operator, the contract employees, witnesses and subject matter experts. Investigators will also analyze evidence from forensic testing. Each panel will consist of a team of BSEE investigators, inspectors and engineers.

The panels will issue reports with their findings regarding the causes and make recommendations on how to strengthen existing safety measures once the investigations are completed.

“These Panel Investigations are critical in ensuring BSEE determines the cause, or causes, of the incidents and develops recommendations for the offshore energy industry,” Herbst said.

BSEE's National Investigations Program is administered by its Safety and Incident Investigations Division in Washington, D.C. The panel investigations are an integral tool for improving both safety and environmental protection.

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