Safe, strong, clear
The PSA’s main issue for 2019 emphasises where responsibility for safety rests in the industry – with the companies. But it also signals greater vigilance by the supervisory authority.
Clear messages are being sent to the industry by the choice of Safe, Strong and Clear as the main issue. In addition to the division of responsibility, it highlights the requirement for continuous improvement in the level of safety.
The Storting (parliament) considered the White Paper on health, safety and the environment (HSE) in the petroleum sector this June.
“It found that Norway’s offshore safety regime is robust and well-functioning, and should be maintained,” observes PSA director general Anne Myhrvold.
“At the same time, the White Paper called for a stronger and clearer PSA. That’s something we take seriously. A strong supervisor is a cornerstone of the Norwegian model.”
“We’ve now reviewed our practice, and decided that we need to make clearer use of our toolbox,” she emphasises. “That covers the choice of supervisory methods, use of enforcement powers and more checks to ensure the industry is correcting nonconformities.”
Myhrvold admits that the PSA could have underestimated to significance of intervening early and clearly enough in demanding conditions.
“I hope our current study of the Goliat, Aasta Hansteen and Ivar Aasen projects on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) will identify good lessons for both us and the industry.
“The Storting also has clear expectations of the industry, that it will emphasise collaboration between employers, unions and government and continue to seek continuous safety improvements.
“’Good enough’ isn’t good enough. The ambition is that Norway’s petroleum sector will be a world leader for HSE. That goal remains unchanged.”
We’ll be working in the time to come to make responsibilities clear. The PSA will strengthen its supervision, the companies will ensure progress.
The main issue for 2019 is therefore also a clear order to the industry, Myhrvold says. “Both sides are duty-bound to help fulfil this ambition, both separately and collectively.
“It’s up to the companies to ensure progress. They’re the ones who have and must accept responsibility for the prudent conduct of operations at all times.”
Noting that the PSA has seen examples where the companies have not shown such this responsibility, Myhrvold characterises this as unacceptable.
“The companies must respect the regime, know their role and get to grips with safety issues. They must work methodically to reduce risk, prioritise safety and ensure continuous improvement.
“We’ll be working in the time to come to make responsibilities clear. The PSA will strengthen its supervision, the companies will ensure progress.”