Australian Oil Rig Fire in 2015
In September 2015, a fire broke out at the West Tuna, one of Esso Australia’s oil and gas platforms in Bass Straight. Worse still, firefighting and rescue personnel were unable to access the rig using boats due to bad weather and rough seas. Additionally, rescue helicopters had to land in the dark since the heliport lighting system was not working. For these reasons, it took firefighters nine hours to control the blaze.
Workers union officials said that this fire incident raised questions about the Esso equipment maintenance program. Specifically, the officials pointed out that Esso had cut down on the annual maintenance rounds from four times to just once and this had eroded confidence in Esso’s safety procedures. Furthermore, the officials warned that cutting back Esso’s maintenance schedules onshore or offshore could potentially lead to an increase in the number of such accidents and incidents.
On its part, Esso insisted that its fire protection systems and equipment maintenance standard meets regulatory standards. This is particularly important because the law requires all work sites in Australia to have and maintain their fire equipment. More importantly, such a standard ensures that firefighting systems and equipment are always in good working condition.
Occupational and Health Safety
All businesses in Australia must comply with the requirements contained in the AS1851-2005 standard. This is necessary in order to promote occupational health and safety at a work site, as well as ensure commercial buildings conform to the laid out building control measures that promote safety in case of a fire.
According to the AS1851 standard, the maximization of fire protection systems and equipment can only be achieved through proper fire equipment maintenance. To achieve this goal, the standard provides rules governing the design, installation, and commissioning of fire protection systems and equipment.
The AS1851 maintenance process is divided into four stages. The first stage involves the inspection of fire protection systems and equipment to ascertain their effectiveness. The second stage deals with the collection, recording and storage all the relevant information. Stage three entails informing the relevant people about an incident as well as developing and implementing the necessary counter measures, which should appear before or at the beginning of the next maintenance schedule. Stage four, which is the final stage, involves producing an annual report that covers all the activities in the preceding stages. This report may include missed tests as well as outstanding rectification work. It is worth noting that, if a fire protection system was decommissioned, this would lead to a failed condition report.
The Esso oil rig fire disaster highlighted the need for fire safety procedures at work sites. Crucially, such producers must cover fire protection systems and equipment contained in the Australian Standard AS1851-2005. For more information about fire safety, contact FCF National today.