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Minutes of Safety Forum meeting no. 2/2011

Key items discussed during the meeting on 23 March 2011, were the Norwegian Oil Industry Association’s (OLF) project to analyse drugs in waste water offshore, initiatives for handling noise challenges in the industry and how the industry will ensure quality in safety and preparedness training after the closing of PSK.

In addition, a status update was given for all ongoing issues on Safety Forum’s strategic agenda for serious incidents sine the last meeting in January. A draft programme for Safety Forum’s annual meeting on 8 June was also discussed.

OLF’s planned project to identify possible drug use offshore through analyses of waste water was outlined by the project manager.

The project’s objective is paramount and is to ensure that offshore workers are not under the influence of drugs.

This requires that the industry is familiar with tools available to identify this. As a result, this project specifically needs to see if waste water analyses are a suitable method for monitoring drug use offshore.

The project manager emphasised that the outcome of the project is not guaranteed before there has been trials. The hope is to achieve reliable analyses that may be interpreted and do not require much resources.

The study will seek to clarify the suitability of the method. It does not target individuals, but is at a group level. Measures resulting from the analyses will not be implemented during the study.

If the method is successful, it may be used to prioritise/focus on drug prevention measures and to measure effects.

Following an extensive status update on the work thus far (see minutes and slides in the right-hand margin for details), a lengthy debate followed, where the employee representatives in particular voiced significant concern regarding the intentions and consequences of such a project.

It was pointed out that the project will be regarded as stigmatising for offshore workers and contributes to uncertainty and mistrust.

The project emphasised that although they do see that results could be obtained that show higher levels of drug use offshore, it is just as likely that the result obtained could be the opposite. OLF also expressed that through the project data could be obtained data that contributes to dismiss claims that the trend on an individual level is negative.

Several members pointed out that such a project could result in a lot of protests and negative media coverage. OLF was therefore encouraged to reassess the entire issue. Everyone seemed to agree that there should not be any drug problems offshore.

Ognedal summarised by emphasising that the issue is highly sensitive and complex. He encouraged the industry to review all consequences and the handling of these before implementing the actions. A greater degree of coordination beforehand is important. If the project is to be implemented, we need to ensure that this can be done properly, he concluded.

The industry rallies around Project Noise
Following the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway’s (PSA) focus on harmful noise, the industry has now joined forces through OLF and The Federation of Norwegian Industries for a joint effort against noise.

The ambition is for the industry in the future to be characterised by having noise exposure at offshore and onshore facilities under control, and that the trend will show reduction in new noise injuries.

Despite a number of initiatives in the industry, and the development of measures for activities across the industry, all parties acknowledge that a prioritised, professional and targeted effort to reduce noise problems in the industry must be achieved.

Therefore, on 15 March, a meeting between the Safety Forum parties at OLF to discuss how the industry should handle the noise issue in the future.

A draft project outline was presented, with OLF and The Federation of Norwegian Industries as sponsors, and we are in talks with the Norwegian Ship Owners’’ Association to clarify participation. The employee organisations are directly involved in the management and development of the project.

The parties will now recommend representatives to the management group, and OLF will continue to work to obtain funds for the work and establish the project organisation and management.

Ognedal gave the project his full support and also stressed that Project Noise must not become a substitute for good measures and processes already underway in the industry.

Quality of the safety and preparedness training
This is an issue that has been discussed in Safety Forum numerous times since PSK, the Norwegian Oil Industry Center for Quality Assurance of Competence, was closed.

The employees expressed significant frustration over the closing of PSK, and the PSA has pointed out the need for establishing a system to ensure quality of the safety and preparedness training in particular.

OLF emphasised that course suppliers, who previously were certified by either PSK or OLF, will have their certifications upheld until a new review.

No new course providers have been certified since the closing of PSK and until the current date. A future system for quality assurance of such courses in being prepared.

OLF said it has taken time to discuss a number of prerequisites that have to be in place for such a system and for the governing documents. OLF also pointed out that there has been a good degree of employee involvement, transparency and predictable and verifiable processes as regards the course providers.

OLF furthermore expressed that the process has contributed with certainty as regards the necessary quality of the courses provided. The process has taken a long time.

The issue has been discussed in the network for safety and preparedness training (composed of the various parties with representatives from the course providers). OLF’s ambition is that a draft can be submitted for comments with NSOB (network under HSE Managers Forum in OLF) shortly.

It was asked whether separate OLF cards would be issued. OLF replied that new OLF cards would not be issued, but the course provider has voluntarily entered into cooperation for a joint standard for plastic course certificates.

Safety Forum’s annual conference on 8 June
During the meeting, a draft programme was presented to the members as an agreed framework for the conference needs to be in place as soon as possible.

The members supported the draft to a large extent, but requested a few changes to the priorities and members also wanted to raise challenges in connection with the industry moving north.

The draft is processed with regard to input from the members and relevant key note speakers will be contacted.

Mutual information
In addition to serious incidents since the last meeting, including special focus on crane and lifting operations in the industry, information was provided and status was exchange regarding a number of ongoing issues and processes within the responsibility and interest sphere of Safety Forum.

Specific updated information was given by the chair of Safety Forum and PSA director Magne Ognedal regarding the work in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and processes implemented by the EU and international associations such as NSOAF and IADC.

As regards the variety of issues and detailed presentations in connection with more detailed case reviews, reference is made to minutes and presentations from the meeting which can be found in the right-hand margin of this page.

Contact person for the Safety Forum:
Angela Ebbesen
E-mail: angela.ebbesen@ptil.no