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What is HSE management?

HSE management involves managing, controlling and handling all aspects of health, safety and the environment in the petroleum industry – with the focus on major accident risk.

Activities in this area focus on

  • management
  • safety economics
  • maintenance management
  • acute discharges.

Managing risk is a key element in HSE management
Risk management involves assessing, prioritising and allocating resources to areas expected to yield the biggest and best gains.

Such work rests on a recognition that risk exists – and an understanding of what it comprises.

The RNNP process on trends in risk level in the petroleum activity is a key tool for mapping risk levels and areas, both offshore and at the land-based plants.

Risk must be reduced as far as possible
Norway’s HSE regulations require that solutions must be chosen which reduce the uncertainty which arises when knowledge is lacking about the possible impact of technical, operational or organisational solutions on health, safety or the environment.

Areas where considerable uncertainty about consequences may exist include

  • long-term health effects
  • effects on the natural environment.

The companies must not only comply with the regulations but also reduce risk as far as possible. If insufficient knowledge is available about the effect of preventive action, the HSE regulations specify that additional measures must be adopted to avoid possible harmful impacts.

Maintenance management
Installations, facilities and equipment wear out, get used up, and become damaged or destroyed. Insufficient maintenance may increase the risk of major accidents, damage and mishaps.

The industry itself is responsible for managing maintenance, and for distinguishing less important work from safety-critical jobs which could have consequences for the level of HSE.

According to the main principle in the regulations, facilities must be maintained in such a manner that they are able to discharge their intended function in all phases of their operating life.

The goals of maintenance management include

  • identifying critical functions
  • ensuring that safety-critical barriers function when they are needed.

Errors in planning, execution or checking of maintenance could cause faults to occur in a system. Inadequate maintenance may mean that an existing fault or degradation is not detected and corrected.

In other words, inadequate maintenance could be a contributory factor in production shutdowns, work mishaps or major accidents.