Specify Roles and Responsibilities

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Type:  Lessons Learned

Publisher:  U. S. Department of Energy, Strategic Petroleum Reserve - DOE

Published As:  Public


Topics:  Operations, Maintenance, Construction/Project Management, Training and Qualification, Hoisting and Rigging, Oversight

A Strategic Petroleum Reserve accident investigation of a scissor lift tip-over inside an open-topped tank found that the supervisor, safety representative and competent person assigned to the project did not have their respective duties and overlapping responsibilities clearly defined, that their qualifications to perform these duties had not been fully verified, and that work planning did not consider the logistics of being able to directly observe and supervise work while the workers were performing abrasive blasting inside the tank.

The work planning process failed to consider all of the individual duties and their allocation between the two supervisory personnel assigned to the project. Not all qualifications were verified, resulting in assignment of an unqualified scissor lift competent person. Limitations to being able to directly supervise the work in progress were not identified during job planning and were not reported from the field. While the employer may have thought that adequate supervision was in effect, the inability of the supervisors to directly observe the abrasive blasting work meant that effective supervision was not carried out. Both supervisory personnel had other duties to perform during the day and used the time that the workers were performing abrasive blasting to perform those other duties.

Lessons Learned: Supervisory roles and responsibilities should be clearly identified in work planning documents and assigned personnel should be verified to have the knowledge, competence and opportunity to fulfill their functions.

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