Bloomberg reported last week that many of the offshore rigs that have been cold stacked are set to be completely scrapped, casting a huge blow to many rig operators’ business. They described the event as, “the most aggressive in an unprecedented experiment with what’s called cold stacking for big drillships.”
Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a downturn situation today that mirrors what we experienced in the mid-1980’s. The big difference, however, is that the offshore drilling rigs* of today are much more expensive and technologically complicated. Since we posted the article Best Practices for Dehumidification of a Mobile Offshore Drilling Rig Lay-up back in September 2014, the response has been overwhelming.
The problem with noise on MODUs
The men and women who work on offshore rigs are exposed to many environmental factors that can have an adverse effect on their work performance as well as their overall psychological well-being.
Unfortunately, we have experienced first-hand what excessive noise can do to one’s hearing. Uncontrolled noise can be detrimental to workers’ health, and in some cases, it can even cause permanent, irreversible hearing damage.
Different regulatory bodies have set forth criteria for noise and other environmental factors to keep personnel working safely and efficiently. As ABS states in their Guide for Crew Habitability on Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs), “These habitability criteria have been chosen to provide a means to help reduce personnel fatigue, improve performance and safety, and to assist with personnel recruiting and retention.”
Heat stress is a very real concern in hot weather. Not only can it have a detrimental effect on machinery but of a more major concern, it can be very hazardous and even fatal to people exposed to hot work areas. Luckily, there are precautions you can take to prevent heat stress.
The Effect of Extreme Heat on the Body
As OSHA explains, heat becomes a hazard for workers when the ambient temperature reaches close to body temperature. This makes it difficult for the body to regulate its own temperature. As the ambient temperature rises, it becomes increasingly difficult for the body to cool itself through the normal process of perspiring. When this happens, heat gets retained within the body, which can lead to impaired cognition, fainting, or even death.
A long-standing problem on a Mobile Offshore Drilling Rig (MODU) is the dust that is generated by the drilling mud sack cutting operation.
This sack cutting operation is typically done within an enclosed, below deck space that is either in or adjacent to the sack storage area. During certain points of operation, the process may require manual filling where a man stands at a waist high cutting table, runs a sack full of dry powder over a cutting knife, and then physically empties the sack contents into an opening at the back of the cutting table that dumps the dry power into the hoppers.
During manual filling, the process produces a lot of dust in the work area. Not only is this dust a nuisance from a maintenance and cleanliness point of view, it is also an environmental health issue for the people who work in this area.
Topics: Offshore Ventilation
Lately, we have been reading and hearing reports from mobile offshore drilling rig owners that a number of MODUs are going to be stacked—unfortunately, this is a cycle that we have been through before. From past experience, we have learned that laying up rigs with proper dehumidification equipment installed helps to preserve the integrity of the below deck equipment and the quarters. When it comes time for the rig to be reactivated, it turns to the right faster and in better condition than a rig that is cold stacked at dockside or in the middle of a bay.