§ 11 Risk reduction principles
Harm or danger of harm to people, the environment or material assets shall be prevented or limited in accordance with the health, safety and environment legislation, including internal requirements and acceptance criteria that are of significance for complying with requirements in this legislation. In addition, the risk shall be further reduced to the extent possible.
In reducing the risk, the responsible party shall choose the technical, operational or organisational solutions that, according to an individual and overall evaluation of the potential harm and present and future use, offer the best results, provided the costs are not significantly disproportionate to the risk reduction achieved.
If there is insufficient knowledge concerning the effects that the use of technical, operational or organisational solutions can have on health, safety or the environment, solutions that will reduce this uncertainty, shall be chosen.
Factors that could cause harm or disadvantage to people, the environment or material assets in the petroleum activities, shall be replaced by factors that, in an overall assessment, have less potential for harm or disadvantage.
Assessments as mentioned in this section, shall be carried out during all phases of the petroleum activities.
This provision does not apply to the onshore facilities' management of the external environment.
Section last changed: 01 January 2011
The principles in the provision apply in general for the activities and supplement the duty of care in the enabling acts.
Risk means the consequences of the activities, with associated uncertainty. The term “consequences” is here used as a collective term for all potential consequences of the activities. The term is not solely limited to the final consequences of the activities in the form of e.g. harm to or loss of human lives and health, environment and financial assets, but also includes conditions and incidents that can result to or lead to this type of consequences. Consequences related to major accidents, for instance, mean both unwanted incidents which can result in major accidents, circumstances and factors which directly or indirectly are of significance to whether the incidents will occur or not, and the consequences in case the incidents would occur. Consequences related to work-related illness and harm, mean both conditions and exposure which straight away or in the long run can lead to illness or harm, and the degree of severity of the illness and harm in the form of fatalities, personal injuries, other health injuries or a reduction in health condition. Consequences related to the external environment, mean both operational discharge and acute pollution in the form of solids, fluid or gas to air, water or the ground, as well as impact on the temperature; all of which can be harmful or disadvantageous for the environment.
Associated uncertainty here means uncertainty related to the potential consequences of the activities. Given the description of consequences above, the uncertainty relates to which incidents can occur, how often they will occur and which detriment of or loss of human life and health, environment and material assets the various incidents can lead to. As regards the external environment, the uncertainty also relates to which environmental harm the operational discharges can result in.
The risk term relates itself to the activities, i.e. to a number of different processes, such as design of a facility, implementation of a drilling operation or decision processes related to a technical, operational or organisational change. In other words, the risk associated with the activities will depend on the context, including the information base and that which must be evaluated, planned and implemented.
The regulations pursuant to the Working Environment Act, laid down by the Ministry of Labour 6 December 2011, and entering into force 1 January 2013, use a definition of risk which differs from what is said above. That definition does not cover the contents of the risk term as described in the regulations related to the petroleum activities in full.
The requirement in this provision for reducing the risk entails that the established minimum level for health, safety and environment, including acceptance criteria for major accident risk and environmental risk, cf. Section 9 of the Management Regulations, shall be met regardless of costs and that the responsible party cannot set aside specific requirements in the health, safety and environment legislation with reference to calculation of risk.
The requirement in the first subsection, second sentence entails that the risk shall be further reduced beyond the established minimum level for health, safety and environment that follows from the regulations. Such risk reduction shall take place according to the principles in the subsequent subsections. This means that the risk shall be reduced beyond the regulations' minimum level if this can take place without unreasonable cost or drawback. The enforcement will be different based on whether it applies to high-risk operations and activities with major accident potential, or whether it applies to construction assignments or similar of lesser scope and with lower risk.
The second subsection provides e.g. the principle regarding best available technology (the BAT principle). This implies that the party responsible for the activities shall use as a basis for its planning and operations the technology and methods that, following a comprehensive assessment provide the best and most effective results. The principle is also expressed in Section 2, first subsection No. 3 of the Pollution Control Act (in Norwegian only). The provision in the Pollution Control Act (in Norwegian only) is primarily directed towards the authorities' exercise of discretion, so that it has been necessary to set this as a direct requirement for the party responsible for the activities. The requirement does not entail any change beyond what has been normal to require according to current law.
The third subsection expresses the so-called precautionary principle. The purpose of including this provision here is to clarify a principle that is recognised nationally as well as internationally in the area of health, safety and environment.
The fourth subsection reflects a substitution philosophy whereby alternative solutions shall be chosen that do not entail the relevant risk factor. The provision applies within the entire scope of the regulations. As according to current law, the requirement includes hazardous factors under the Working Environment Act. The provision will also include matters that entail health risk under the health authorities' area of responsibility. For the duty to substitute products that contain chemicals hazardous to health and environment, reference is made to Section 3a of the Product Control Act (in Norwegian only).
The sixth subsection exempts the external environment at the onshore facilities from the scope of the provision. In this area, the provision is considered unnecessary, and regardless of whether there is a conflict between this provision and what would otherwise follow from the pollution regulations, any doubt regarding this has been avoided by exempting the external environment from the scope of the provision.
For additional detail on the requirements related to risk reduction, reference is made to the supplementary regulations, mainly the Management Regulations.