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Investigating the effect of the PSA’s supervision

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) is currently working to learn more about which of its supervisory activities have the greatest effect, and to increase awareness about which approaches give the best return.


We would like to receive examples of the PSA’s supervision or a company’s own follow-up activities which have had a positive effect.

Note down examples and experience – and not least why they had a good effect – and send them to Janne Haugland at the PSA:

janne.haugland@ptil.no  

“Our most important job as a regulator is to assess whether the companies are running their operations prudently and in line with the regulations,” says Ingvill Hagesæther Foss, one of the PSA’s directors of supervision.

“At the same time, it’s part of our mandate to help reach the goal of an industry which leads the world for health, safety and the environment [HSE]. We want our supervisory activities to have a positive effect on the level of HSE.

“We conduct many follow-up activities during a year, and these differ. Audits occupy a key place, but we also pursue meeting series and activities directed at the industry as a whole. We work to learn more about which activities are the most effective, and how we can make best use of our resources.”

Meetings with operator companies, drilling contractors and representatives from other regulators provide the PSA with valuable information, both on how the companies experience its supervision and on how they themselves follow up the authority’s observations and findings.

A large user survey of the PSA’s audits has also been conducted to increase understanding of the way such activities are perceived by the industry, their effect, and possible improvement points for the future.

This study found that the companies by and large believe the PSA conducts its audits in a good and professional manner. At the same time, areas with a potential for improvement were identified. A similar investigation is planned in the wake of all the audits in 2019.

Read more: User survey: good and professional audits

Useful experience and knowledge can also be acquired from other government agencies, such as the Norwegian Board of Health and the National Institute for Occupational Health (Stami).

The Board of Health completed a four-year research project in 2018 which studied the effect of supervision in the health service (in Norwegian only).

For its part, Stami has just launched a research project in cooperation with the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority on the effects of the latter’s enforcement powers (in Norwegian only).

Enhancing quality
“Our follow-up is intended to be a supplement to the work done by the companies themselves, and it’s naturally important for us that our priorities and use of resources have the best possible effect,” comments Hagesæther Foss.

“The goal is not only to enhance the quality of our own supervision but also to ensure that the companies become more conscious that their own follow-up activities are the right ones.”

She also emphasises that the follow-up conducted by the companies themselves represents a key part of their responsibility.

All players are therefore urged to think through how their own activities can be planned and followed up in such a way that the greatest possible effect is achieved.

Follow-up
“Audits and follow-up activities are very resource-intensive, whether we carry them out or they are done internally in the company,” Hagesæther Foss observes.

“We want to get as much as possible out of the activities. To achieve that, it’s not least important to check that the measures or follow-up actions are actually implemented and work as intended. In our experience, sticking with a subject over time is also important.”

In addition, the PSA sees that differences exist between the way companies get to grips with nonconformities and the improvement points it identifies. Measures taken in the companies are crucial in determining whether a supervisory activity has a positive effect on the level of HSE.