Golden Rules

The Golden Rules incorporate all the experience and learning gained by three companies in over ten years of performing millions of safe crane transfers.

Marine Personnel Transfer

The safe transit of personnel is one of the key challenges in the offshore environment. Reflex Marine has joined forces with Seacor Marine and Sparrows Offshore to create a set of Ten Golden Rules for the safe transit of employees in the offshore oil and gas industry.

These rules reflect what's been learnt from millions of transfers in varied conditions around the globe, with a focus on those few that go wrong. Crane transfer may seem a simple operation, but a wide range of variables is involved, and considering them carefully will help you to achieve a safe transfer every time.

The Golden Rules, which were developed following a process of detailed consultation, incorporate the experience and learning of the three companies derived from millions of safe crane transfers performed over more than ten years. It is hoped they will become recognised as a global standard in transfer best practice.

Ten Golden Rules

1. Understand your risks

Each operation is unique, perform a risk assessment to help ensure you understand your site-specific risks. Consider the vessels, cranes, transfer equipment, weather, and sea-state and crews involved. Identify the key risk drivers. Extra scrutiny is required for personnel lifting.

2. Be familiar with your conditions

Check prevailing weather and sea conditions (including tides and currents). Discuss vessel positioning and station-keeping with the vessel master and crane operator (identifying specific risks or concerns). Understand the limits of your equipment.

3. Know your vessels

The specific vessel engaged is a major consideration, pay particular attention to station-keeping and stability. A large clear landing area free from adjacent obstacles will reduce risks. Crew competence, and familiarity with the installation and communications (particularly radio and hand signals) are also key factors.

4. Know your cranes

Be aware of the limitations of your cranes (modern offshore cranes are designed to meet the challenges of the marine environment). Cranes should be well-maintained and all appropriate certification in place. The crane location is also important, as is the lift height, the line of sight to the vessel and the choice of slow or fast line. Understand the function of the crane’s emergency lowering systems and ensure they can be operated in the event of a prime mover failure.

5. Know your transfer device

Carriers on the market range from very basic to the more protective. Select equipment suitable for your operating envelope and risk levels. Ensure all equipment is in safe working condition. Rigging (slings) are of particular importance as they are prone to damage and deterioration. Equipment should be maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, and critical components sourced from the original equipment manufacturer.

6. Be familiar with your crews

The training and competence of vessel and installation crews are key considerations and should be addressed in company procedures. Crane operators and vessel masters have particularly important roles to play. Ensure proper ppe (e.g. Hard hats, safety glasses, safety footwear, life vests) are worn by all passengers.

7. Plan your lift

Dangerous collisions can occur when transfer devices, misaligned with the crane hook, swing upon pick-up from the vessel. Harsh weather can exacerbate this problem. Pay attention to avoidance of collision and snagging hazards. Where possible, perform lifts over water and retain a good line of sight of the carrier. Note, good communication (including radios and hand signals), between the vessel and crane operator, is essential.

8. If in doubt, stop

Perform trial transfer runs without passengers. If there are still doubts about the ability to perform the operation safely, suspend it.

9. Recognise complex operations

Many factors can complicate transfer operations and increase risks. Such risks should be recognised and managed. Common factors include lifts from moving structures (e.g. Mono-hull vessels and floating platforms), extreme weather, poorly specified vessels, inexperienced crews and poor installation layout. Where appropriate, seek expert advice.

10. Emergency planning

Crane transfer can be an essential tool for managing emergencies, such as medical evacuations. Integrate crane transfers into your emergency planning and perform drills to confirm your capabilities.