Offshore industry urged to focus on safety

Tuesday, 04 August, 2009

A strategic approach to planning for safety on offshore petroleum facilities is needed, the acting CEO of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA), Simon Schubach, told delegates at the APPEA National Oil and Gas Safety Conference held in Perth recently.  “Planning for safe operations should be guided by findings from extensive data collected from industry over the past five years,” Schubach said.

As the OHS regulator for the Australian offshore petroleum industry, NOPSA data shows that the top three root causes of incidents that affected offshore safety in this time are:

  • preventative maintenance requiring improvement;
  • procedures not used or followed; and
  • design specifications needing improvement.

Industry leaders are urged to use these findings to prioritise their activities in protecting the safety of offshore personnel.

Schubach said NOPSA intends to look for evidence that industry is acting on these three main findings on root causes of incidents during its audits and inspections of offshore facilities in 2009-10: “We are looking for leadership across the sector to take a more strategic approach to planning for safety in operations in what is a high-hazard environment.

“Although each facility operator develops a detailed safety case to describe how they will manage risks on their particular facility, NOPSA’s common findings on root causes across industry should be addressed in forward operational planning.

“In times when budgets are constrained, the need for strategic planning to ensure that resources and efforts are directed to areas that have been proven to cause risk is even more vital.”

A host of industry safety data is available through the NOPSA website, under the industry key performance indicators section and in the national programs focus area.

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