This report is based on work and discussions in the Safety Forum. This work was initiated following a recommendation from the multipartite working group (the Engen Committee), which in 2017 discussed the status of and trends in HSE in the petroleum industry. The report by the multipartite working group was a foundation stone of the government white paper (Meld. St. 12 (2017-2018) Health, safety and environment in the petroleum industry) was submitted in 2018.
The report describes the current bipartite and tripartite cooperation and identifies important helps and hindrances for this work. It also summarises recommendations and initiatives that the Safety Forum wishes to take forward.
There is agreement that participation in the Norwegian oil and gas industry generally works well, but the picture is variable and there are substantial challenges further along the supplier chain. The Safety Forum has discussed how the development of new forms of operation, digitalisation, company mergers, new industry participants, contracts, framework conditions and foreign labour create challenges for representative employee participation. On the employees’ side, the use of temporary hires and hired labour in particular is problematical.
The safety representative scheme
The Safety Forum highlights the safety representative scheme as an important prerequisite for safety and the working environment. But it emerged in discussions that it has become more difficult in some companies to recruit safety representatives. The following possible reasons for this have been suggested:
- Less attractive
- A lot of work
- Less time
- Little recognition
- Possible negative impact on career development
- Working environment committee
The Safety Forum observes that there may be large differences in how the working environment committee (AMU) works in the different companies, and within an individual company over time. Some AMUs work well, while others are less effective. It is clear that the committee’s functions must be tailored to the conditions in the specific company.
AMUs play an important role in HSE activities and it is crucial that the parties involved agree on the rules of conduct and set out long-term plans for the committee’s work. In the report, the Safety Forum highlights a number of factors that contribute to the good, or poor, functioning of an AMU.
The Safety Forum sees a need for clearer prioritisation of which forums and issues should be addressed. The multipartite working group (the Engen committee) is identified as a good example of tripartite cooperation that all parties have found valuable.
The report concludes with a number of overall recommendations and considerations aimed at the Safety Forum’s activities, as well as at the individual parties.