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April Oilfield Fools

The warm months are starting and we can finally get back to working outdoors in pleasantly beautiful spring-time weather. Many workers will cut some corners to try and make up for lost time over this seemingly endless winter. Cutting corners can cause injury and other costly damages. So this spring pay special attention to the guidelines and recommended uses of your equipment. Don’t be a fool this April, be safe.

J.E.I. Metallurgical has investigated several equipment misuse accidents. One such investigation involved improper use of a V-door pipe ramp which proved to be costly and injuring the worker.  

A V-door pipe ramp was being put into place during the setup of a drilling rig. A rigging worker was attempting to lift and reposition the ramp by using a keyhole slot cut into the side of the ramp. But, the keyhole slot was not used in the way it was designed, and the misuse caused the chain to separate from the keyhole slot, swinging the heavy ramp into the rigging worker severely injuring him. Following the accident, the ramp was put back into use, resulting in spoliation of the evidence.

As a result of the spoliation, an exemplar keyhole slot of approximately the same size and dimensions was fabricated for testing. Photographs of the exemplar keyhole slot can be seen in photograph A.

V-door clamp slot views

Photograph A-Keyhole slot

The keyhole slot is designed to accept both, a grab hook and its attached chain. The hole accepts the grab hook, and the slot is used to thread and hold the unused chain.  Thus, the length of chain used when lifting can be varied using the slot, keeping the v-door ramp level or at a desired height and inclination.

Instead of threading the grab hook through the grab hook hole, the rigger hooked onto the area where the keyhole slot joins the grab hook hole. This was a misapplication of the grab hook and its chain to perform a lifting operation.

After lifting the V-door ramp using the keyhole slot in a dangerous and improper way the rigger tried to rotate the ramp while parallel to the ground. While rotating the V-door ramp the grab hook detached, freeing the incredibly heavy ramp allowing it to strike the rigging worker causing injury. All of this could have been avoided as the misapplication and misuse of the grab hook, chain, and keyhole slot are the root cause of this accident. The V-door ramp can be seen in photograph labeled B. 

V-door ramp c

Photograph B – V-door ramp


Let’s be safe this spring, don’t be an April fool. 

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J.E.I. Metallurgical, Inc.

5514 Harbor Town
Dallas, Texas 75287

Phone: (972) 934-0493
Fax: (469) 737-3938

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