Summary of Kenai Drilling Limited – DAR

A latch on a lanyard used by employees working at an elevated location on an oil drilling rig was supposed to close automatically but did not. An employee informed the first line supervisor (tool pusher). He gave the employee a new lanyard and told him to bring the defective one down. The employee forgot and told another employee who also forgot. A day and a half later an employee used the old lanyard, the D ring slipped out of the latch and he fell. The injured employee had been informed of the defect and the safety order says that workers are to inspect their own safety equipment. A serious accident related violation of section 6580(c) was cited. Employer raised the Independent Employee Action Defense. The Board rejected it. Employer had an affirmative duty to remove the defective lanyard from service and did not do that effectively. A good safety effort is a prerequisite to the Independent Employee Action Defense. Also, by leaving the old lanyard in service, Employer created the impression that it did not violate the safety rule to use it, so there was no proof of the 5th element of the defense, that the employee knew he was acting contra to Employer’s rule.

Kenai Drilling Limited, 00-2326
September 23, 2002