The traditional methods, equipment and safety measures currently in use have failed to eliminate incidents, injuries and near misses which occur while picking up single joints of drill pipe. Operations in the North Sea and elsewhere have recorded a significant number of serious incidents with the "variable" type of single joint elevators that are commonly used which have resulted in dropped objects, lost time incidents with attendant injuries and near misses. The root causes of the lifting incidents include a variety of both operational and equipment failures such as incomplete latching, safety pin problems, incorrect selection of blocks to suit the pipe size and hinge pin failures.

A recent joint effort between a major oil company and a service company has led to the development of tools and methods that incorporate several key features and provide a means to enhance safety and operational efficiency while lifting single joints of drill pipe. The authors will discuss the problem as it existed, review the new methods and handling tools which evolved and provide current data on their implementation.

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