London-based ENSCO was originally founded as Energy Services Company, Inc. in 1987, and changed its name to ENSCO International Incorporated in 1995. Following the acquisition of Pride International in 2011, it became one of the largest offshore drilling firms. Operations can be found on six continents.
The company’s fleet consists of eight drillships (with one under construction), 32 jackup rigs, and nine semisubmersible vessels. Its ultra-deepwater fleet is being expanded with an additional vessel; the average age of the ships is six years. Over $2 billion has been invested in jackup rigs since 2005. Extremely durable, the fleet is being added to with an ultra-premium harsh environment model now under construction.
A Focus on Safety
The company’s global management system includes various policies that concentrate on safety companywide, the health of its workers, and the environment. ENSCO’s Safe System of Work includes work instruction, permit to work, job safety analysis, energy isolation, and stop work authority. Multiple training programs are managed by the firm, including a Supervisor Safety Training Program, Safety Leadership Development Program, and Competency Assurance Program, which functions like an on-the-job training program conducted onboard company-owned oil rigs.
The company also recruits university attendees from around the world to take part in its Engineer and Management Trainee Program. Its purpose is to prepare individuals so they are ready to serve in engineering and operational positions anywhere on the globe once they graduate.
October 2014: An accident occurred on the Ensco-104 jack-up rig when two crew members were killed. The employees were inspecting a lifeboat when it suddenly fell 150 feet into the water. The incident occurred off Malaysia. During the routine inspection, a safety harness failed, causing the men to fall and sustain fatal head injuries.
August 2013: A riser pipe on the Ensco DS-1, a drillship, collapsed. No one was injured, but the accident was thought to be caused by a failure to open blind shear rams, which led to the pipe buckling when the blow out preventer was run. The incident demonstrates the fact that major failures can happen if proper procedures are not followed.
May 2012: Fourteen people were rescued when a helicopter en-route to the Ensco 102 rig and another offshore platform when it had to ditch in the North Sea. Twelve of the people were contractors working for Ensco and other firms. The aircraft made a controlled descent when it experienced a mechanical failure and low-pressure warning.
September 2007: Three men were killed on a gas rig supply vessel. The accident, which occurred in the North Sea aboard the Viking Islay, happened when the workers were securing an anchor chain to the vessel’s bow. After the incident, the men were airlifted to a nearby infirmary. They were working at the BP Amethyst gas field at the time. Nine other crew members on the vessel were not injured.
The Offshore Accident Risk
Equipment failures can be a reason for workers being injured or killed at offshore facilities. Aside from these and helicopter accidents, other common incidents include falling overboard into the water, in which a person is in danger of drowning. Such a fall is possible if a worker slips on a deck and falls off the side. A fall anywhere on the platform can cause severe head, neck, and back injuries, the severity of which may not be immediately known. Maritime workers have even lost limbs due to fallen equipment, being crushed, explosions, and getting stuck in winches or other types of equipment.
Also, burns, electrocutions, and repetitive use injuries are possible. Although it is nearly impossible to avoid all accidents in such high-risk environments, the risks can be limited through safety training, limiting work hours, and through proper maintenance and operation of equipment and systems. Negligence can cause accidents and can involve the failure to maintain/repair devices, communicate safety issues, or train workers.
Injured workers often face stiff medical bills and must deal with a loss of income, while deaths impose hardships of various kinds on family members and dependents. Maritime law provides for compensation for lost wages or future earnings, medical bills, and even emotional and psychological trauma people face as a result of major accidents aboard rigs and vessels at sea.