To ensure more coherent and consistent handling of nonconformities from the HSE regulations, the PSA has clarified the regulatory provisions in this area in an identical letter addressed to the industry.
Dispatched on 3 January 2014, this letter includes the following amplifications.
“Section 22 of the management regulations on handling of nonconformities specifies requirements for the way identified nonconformities are handled. When nonconformities are identified which are not so serious that they require immediate shutdown or halting of the activity, the nonconformity must be corrected, its causes clarified and measures implemented to prevent a recurrence. Until the nonconformity has been corrected, compensatory measures must be adopted to maintain a prudent level of HSE.
“Among other considerations, the requirements in section 22 of the management regulations entail the following.
“It is a requirement that all nonconformities are corrected. Until nonconformities are corrected, continued operation is legal. See the provision in section 22 of the management regulations on handling of nonconformities, which specifies that continued operation is permissible providing the nonconformity is not so serious that immediate shutdown is required.
“If it is planned to correct the nonconformity as quickly as possible, it is not necessary to apply for exemption. ‘Planned’ means specific and realistic plans to correct the nonconformity. How long it might take to correct a nonconformity will depend on the type of nonconformity and the rest of the facility. Where special reasons mean that nonconformities are not planned to be corrected as quickly as possible, we refer to section 70 of the framework regulations on exemptions.
“Section 70 of the framework regulations permits the government to grant exemptions from the regulations. However, ‘special circumstances’ must exist in order to obtain an exemption pursuant to section 70. It is up to the responsible party to describe these ‘special circumstances’.”
In addition, the PSA reminds the players in the letter about applicable regulations which specify requirements for employee participation. These also entail employee participation in handling nonconformities.
The PSA intends to strengthen its follow-up of the management of identification and handling of nonconformities by the companies, and how the companies themselves ensure that the nonconformity system functions as intended.