To fully understand the risks involved in marine personnel transfer, it’s essential to study past incidents and identify where the dangers lie.
Before our work began, there was no central database for marine transfer incidents. By collecting and analysing data spanning a 20-year period, we’ve been able to isolate when and where these incidents happen. Crucially, this allows us to consider how best to protect personnel with the carriers we create.
As we expected, our study showed that most incidents happen on the vessel itself. Less predictable was the high level taking place during pick-up, which can result in serious injuries or fatalities, compared to those caused by heavy landing, which are more likely to result in minor injuries. From detailed analysis, we found that many incidents are caused by the pendulum ‘swing factor’: an often unavoidable misalignment between the crane line and the transfer device.
Our research showed that the pivotal risk factors in transfers are equipment design and crane operating error. Very few incidents relate directly to the condition of the transfer device or crane; instead, the design of the equipment often has a powerful effect on its safety. A lack of training, planning and preparation was also a concern in a considerable number of the incidents studied.
Using these findings, we’ve tailored our carriers to address the specific risks crews face. With falls during pick-up causing serious injuries or even fatalities, we’ve developed devices that offer additional safety measures. Passenger fall restraints are a design essential in all of our carriers, preventing loss of grip or dislodging. A protective outer frame and buoyancy panels reduce the dangerous effects of side impact, which frequently results from the pendulum ‘swing factor’. We’ve also put in place comprehensive training programmes to encourage safe practice.
To guarantee the safety of our products, we subject them to vigorous testing in line with the dangers identified. Development of the FROG-XT included full-scale impact and immersion testing, while our original FROG was trialled in the equivalent of Beaufort 6 conditions. The results are clear in our track record, with over a million safe transfers carried out every year.
As a founding member of the Marine Transfer Forum, Reflex Marine has collaborated on the developed of the 'Offshore Personnel Transfer by Crane' guidelines.
To download the guidelines visit our Downloads section.