We carry out audits of the working environment conditions in the petroleum activities offshore and onshore.
Employees can be subjected to several hazards in the working environment, of which the following are examples:
- Hazardous chemicals
- Heavy lifting and difficult working positions
- Noise and vibrations
- Negative effects related to change processes
Through good management, the hazardous factors can be handled so that they do not constitute an unacceptable risk to the health of the employees. The regulations provide guidance on how to reduce risk. Technical preventative measures will, for instance, be given priority over person-oriented measures. This means e.g. that, rather than using hearing protection, which is a weak barrier against hearing injury, technical measures should primarily be implemented to reduce noise levels.
The Working Environment Act, with some exceptions, and several of the regulations issued by the Directorate of Labour Inspection, apply to the petroleum activities. The Working Environment Act's provisions relating to working hours do not apply to the offshore activities - special provisions are found in the Framework Regulations.
We have the same role that the Directorate of Labour Inspection has on land. Since we are also a major accident authority, great emphasis is placed on the importance the working environment may have for major accident risk.
A good working environment is important in itself, but it is also an important precondition for maintaining a low major accident risk. To understand the causes of major accidents - and thus be able to implement effective measures - the factors which are mutually dependent upon each other, technology, management systems, organisation, people and culture, must be considered together. Human factors are an important discipline connecting working environment conditions and major accident risk.