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Dropped object prevention

Published:  20 January, 2021

Despite significant strides in addressing Drops risks, Brazilian operators in O&G and other core industrial sectors risk losing early progress by defaulting to low-cost safety solutions, as global markets experience volatility.

Working to price alone in procurement can leave operators saddled with less effective, lower quality solutions requiring regular replacement. But, a renewed focus on installing high-quality, durable, best-in-class solutions will see operators in the sector benefit from reduced expenditure on Drops prevention and reduced incident rates.

This is according to a leader in Dropped Object (Drops) prevention, Dropsafe, and veteran Brazilian O&G supplier Polar Components, who have signed a distribution contract. The agreement is set to provide O&G operators in the region with fast and reliable supply of best practice Drops solutions such as the Dropsafe Barrier, Net and Pouch.

Brazil’s large O&G market is rapidly evolving as firms in the market adapt to a changing regulatory and operational environment. Growing recognition of Drops risks from key domestic and international players has driven a rush to ensure assets are protected, particularly in light of aging offshore facilities. Tackling this issue is vital, as older assets can exhibit high levels of corrosion and require extra attention.

Dropsafe and Polar have highlighted a current trend in the region towards minimising initial outlay during HSE procurement, which may undermine long-term risk mitigation efforts. In particular, the use of low quality nets and makeshift ‘slings’ for secondary retention of overhead fixtures is a concern for HSE professionals. These low-cost net solutions often fail to meet international standards for best practice Drops prevention, requiring regular replacement and ultimately leading to mounting long-term equipment and maintenance costs.

There is a similar false economy when opting for cheaper barriers, which prevent objects from falling through gaps in guard railings, as outlined in Dropsafe’s ‘Slipping Through the Cracks’ white paper. These risks can be mitigated most effectively using more robust and versatile barrier systems which offer quick installation and minimal maintenance, reducing labour costs significantly throughout the system’s lifecycle.

Dropsafe and Polar have therefore pointed to a significant commercial opportunity for Brazilian O&G firms to invest in durable, long-term Drops solutions. Crucially, by investing in robust Drops solutions covered by warranty and backed by extensive liability insurance, firms in Brazil can be assured that they have effectively managed risks posed by Drops to personnel, equipment, and reputation. The partnership signed by the two companies will make this goal more attainable for Brazilian operators, ensuring timely supply of robust Drops prevention solutions.

Mike Rice, Dropsafe commercial director, said: “Brazil is a crucial market for O&G globally and continues to attract investment from energy giants. That’s why building up a robust culture of Drops prevention is vital – serious safety incidents can have devastating impacts on personnel and can raise concerns for investors. To manage budget pressures more effectively it is critical that the industry looks at safety equipment as a long-term asset, rather than a consumable.”

Alasdair Kelman, Polar Components technical manager, said: “We are proud to work with Dropsafe to tackle Drops risks in Brazil. Both upstream and downstream O&G, chemical plants, and power generation facilities in Brazil have all seen rapid changes in awareness regarding Drops risks. Our partnership with Dropsafe will bring the best solutions to Brazil to empower operators as they continue to develop best practice Drops prevention programmes and optimise their HSE investment.”

The distribution deal with Polar Components extends Dropsafe’s support network further into Latin America, following the previous agreement signed with Jaguar Oilfield services in Guyana in September.

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