Load Testing of Lifeboat Davits
Offshore oil and gas platforms are dangerous places to work, and accidents can happen very easily. To alleviate any accidents due to failure of mechanical lifting equipment, these components are load tested using weights at percentages above their Safe Working Load (SWL). These weights are known as the Proof Load.
The equipment to be tested consists of runway beams and padeyes which are static load tests and lifeboat davits and pedestal cranes which are a combination of both static and dynamic load tests. These are all tested according to Safety of Life At Sea (SOLAS) and Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLAS)
All tests are carried out by a qualified person and witnessed by the Certifying Authority and sometimes by the platform’s client.
The tests are carried out during the construction phase when there is plenty of room to maneuver the large, heavy weights around the structure.
This article is another in the series of Marine Offshore Oil and Gas and is written from my experience as a mechanical engineer in the offshore construction yards, from which I retired in 2000.
It may therefore be a bit dated but the methods used to load test and certify mechanical equipment will not have changed that much, although the legislation may well have, so it is best to check the current versions of these documents.
We shall start by looking at the procedures involved in the load testing of lifeboat davits, the test weights used and how these are fabricated and certified.