Alert 12 – 32 Inattentiveness Results in Injured Employees


The crew was laying down drill pipe with 42 joints left in the hole when they experienced a tight connection. The iron roughneck wasn’t breaking the connection as it should, so the crew began using manual tongs to break the pipe connection and spin the pipe out with the rotary table. With both tongs on the joint of pipe, the driller engaged the breakout tong to break the connection. The driller mistakenly thought the connection had broken when the tongs had slipped off of the joint. The driller engaged the rotary table which caused the breakout tong to swing all the way around striking the makeup tong. The makeup tong then struck an employee, forcing him into the drawworks, resulting in an injury. A second employee was injured when he fell over the rotary chain guard in an attempt to avoid the swinging tongs. A third employee was nearly struck in the head with the swinging tong; however, he bent over just in time for the tong to swing over the top of his head, knocking off his hard hat.

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