Three offshore workers narrowly escaped serious harm when a lift shaft was mistakenly filled with seawater, a report has revealed.
The Health and Safety Executive said it was only their own reactions – using an emergency-stop – that prevented full immersion or being trapped.
The incident happened on Ithaca Energy’s FPF-1 floating production facility in the North Sea in December.
Production was shut down earlier this month due to a Covid-19 outbreak.
The HSE has issued improvement requirements for failing to implement effective work arrangements over the shaft incident.
On the evening of 10 December, two employees were setting up temporary equipment as part of a system for a “potentially high-risk operation” to remove residual water from an area.
They inadvertently filled a lift shaft with seawater.
The HSE said the three people travelling down the lift to carry out work were semi-submerged in seawater.
Only their own reactions, using the emergency-stop function on the lift and returning to the main deck, prevented the potential of “serious personal injury”.
Ithaca has been approached for comment.