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No. 11/2007


Pipe fitter finding out the leakage

Accident location: Top of the column DGA Country: Saudi Arabia Type of the activity: Hydro - testing of 36 line Date of the event: October 19th, 2007 Type of accident: Fatal

The incident happened while the Subcontractor Hydro testing crew was performing pressure tests on a 36 Carbon steel line with pressure of 1915 Psi on the top of DGA Column. The team leader and other six workers were positioned on the top end of the Column permanent platform and their foreman (crew leader) with three pipe fitters on the ground level, monitoring where the manifold system is in processing the high pressure for the test purpose. One pipe fitter noticed drops of water leaking from flange joints. He went closer to the flange for finding out the exact location of the water leakage. Suddenly a high pressured water jet came out from pipe through the flange joint. As confirmed by the inspection of the temporary gaskets, after dismantling of the pipe spool, the temporary gasket broke and through the crack a high pressure (1500 Psi) water came out. The high pressure water with a piece of gasket hit the victims face & fore head causing severe injury to the victims head.

The accident occurred due to failure of the temporary gasket under a pressure of approximately 1500 PSI. The temporary gasket found in the flange joint was of 1160psi max pressure; The hydro-test piping arrangement was not allowing the proper line venting; The testing crew was multi-cultural, and the level of English knowledge among the crew members was quite diverse making the communication difficult; The following instruction provided Pressure testing safely and Hazard of pressure testing have been disregarded.


Mandatory (contractual) instruction to Subcontractors about utilization of permanent, or at least verified and certified gaskets, to be used in high pressure testing activities that are in accordance to pressure levels, not exceeding factory specifications. Relevant check to be part as HOLD point of a mandatory pre-test check list. Subcontractor must assure that personnel fully understand information, instructions given out. English is the official language on projects. Subcontractor is responsible for assuring all personnel understand instructions, information conveyed also in their own language if necessary. Personnel must be fully informed by on risks associated with certain types of activities, duties to perform, areas, and activities to avoid, highlighting high risk activities. This is to be conveyed to personnel by means of training, tool box talk.
Temporary gasket broke through the crack at high pressure test

For further details contact Saipem QHSE Department Sustainability & HSE Reporting