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Petroleum and gas safety information bulletin no. 13 | 04 November 2020 | Version 1

Wire Rope Management

Key issues

Key learnings from reported incidents and industry safety alerts:

  • Pull down lines not recorded on lifting equipment register
  • Inadequate preventative maintenance system in place specifically for wire ropes and/or schedule for routine change out
  • Spare equipment on site not certified
  • Competency of personnel undertaking inspections of wire rope inadequate
  • Potential for "Dropped Objects" resulting in harm to personnel
  • Focus of only wire rope utilised for hoisting operations
The Inspectorate will be checking on wire rope management as part of its field inspections.


  • Review of equipment registers, inspections and preventative maintenance system in place
  • Review of wire rope OEM certification and traceability
  • Competent personnel to undertake inspections of wire rope along with and not limited to drums, sheaves and termination points
  • Review of design characteristics of wire rope for intended application
  • Review of OEM procedures for installation and inspection along with relevant industry standards and recommended practices
  • Use of risk assessments identifying and not limited to potential of "Dropped Objects" and other associated hazards in regards to wire rope applications
  • Complete overview of all wire rope exposure utilised in operations, not only hoisting applications, i.e. transport and crane applications

References and further information

Queensland legislation:

  • The Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004
  • The Petroleum and Gas (Safety) Regulation 2018

Current Queensland legislation at: https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/browse/inforce


  • API RP 54 - Occupational Safety and Health for Oil and Gas Well Drilling and Servicing Operations. Section 7.5 Hoisting Lines and Other Wire Rope
  • API RP 9B - Application, Care, and Use of Wire Rope for Oil Field Service
  • AS 1666.1 - Wire Rope Assemblies Part 1 Product Specifications
  • AS 2759 - Steel Wire Rope- use, Operation and Maintenance
  • AS 1418:11 - Cranes hoists and winches. Part 11 Vehicle loading cranes

Industry Safety Alerts:


During 2020, the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate (the Inspectorate) has been notified of four separate wire rope incidents:

  • Three incidents involved top drive pull down lines failing mechanically resulting in wire rope descending to the rig floor.
  • Power tong static line failed mechanically and descended approx. 12 metres to the rig floor.

In recent years the Inspectorate has also been notified of an incident when drill line mechanical failure occurred resulting in the traveling assembly and drill line descending to the rig floor, while awareness of another case resulted in drilling operations being suspended to allow replacement of drill line after concerns were raised by the tenure holder regarding the integrity of drill line in use.

All incidents noted above resulted in no harm to personnel.

Typically wire rope acts, in most cases, as critical hoisting components of Operating Plant associated with drilling related activities.

The Inspectorate has developed the information bulletin as a timely reminder to Industry of the importance of wire rope management.

Authorised by Bill Date - Chief Inspector

Contact: Don Harris, Principal Inspector- Drilling , +61 7 4531 8521

Issued by Resources Safety & Health Queensland

General: This information is a guide only. It is not to be taken as a statement of law and must not be construed to waive or modify any legal obligation.