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Order following audit of Equinor Mongstad

We have issued an order to Equinor Mongstad following an audit of the company’s management of the working environment for the SIP trades.

From 23 to 25 May 2018, we carried out an audit of Equinor Mongstad and its management of the working environment for the SIP (scaffolding, insulation and painting) trades.

Deficiencies were identified in Equinor Mongstad’s system for following up the working environment for SIP personnel. Equinor Mongstad had not sufficiently assessed and followed up factors with potential bearing on risk in its work at Mongstad.

Equinor Mongstad had not sufficiently followed up organisational and psychosocial working environment factors in order to prevent negative HSE consequences of framework conditions. Through a survey and incident follow-up performed by a SIP contractor (Beerenberg), it was discovered that SIP personnel felt that pressure on progress was at the cost of HSE and negative findings in the reporting culture. The survey results were not requested or followed up by Equinor Mongstad. Consequently, no assessment was made of whether findings relating to the organisational working environment and safety climate could be understood in the light of the unit price compensation format or other framework conditions controlled by Equinor Mongstad.

Equinor Mongstad and Kaefer Energy had not followed up whether the working environment in certain areas and work operations was prudent. This applied in part to sand/slurry blasting conducted in a noisy area which was also difficult to access. Nor were health checks carried out for the personnel from Kaefer Energy or Global Work who performed this work.

It emerged from the audit that an incident had occurred in May 2017 where surface treatment personnel from/under contract to Beerenberg were exposed to an unacceptable working environment. During sandblasting, a number of workers were exposed to critically high temperatures. The work lasted seven days, without the risk being identified and followed up by Equinor Mongstad or Beerenberg. Equinor Mongstad had not classified the potential in the incident, but assessed the actual injury case as a serious temporary work-related illness. Given the information which emerged, the incident could have led to serious acute damage to health and, in the worst case, life-threatening conditions. Equinor Mongstad’s classification could therefore have contributed to undercommunicating the true health risk.

The incident should have been notified to the PSA. This was not done.

Collaboration between the occupational health services (OHS) at the contractors and the Equinor Mongstad health and working environment department was inadequate. Nor did the OHSs at the contractors and their subcontractors collaborate. The Equinor Mongstad health and working environment department was therefore unaware of surveys conducted by a contractor.

An improvement point related to worker participation was identified in the audit. Safety delegates at the contractors could have been involved to a greater extent in the preventive and systematic HSE work. Certain safety delegates had not received the training required by law, and lacked an adequate understanding of their role.

Non-conformities and improvement points
We observed regulatory non-conformities in the following areas:

  • Management of the organisational and psychosocial working environment (5.1.1)
  • Risk assessment of work operations (5.1.2)
  • Inadequate risk assessment of the incident (5.1.3)
  • Failure to notify the incident (5.1.4)
  • Collaboration with OHSs (5.1.5)

We also observed an improvement point relating to:

  • Arrangements for employee participation

Read the notice of order to Equinor Mongstad

In compliance with the notice, we have now issued Equinor with the following order:

Pursuant to section 18.6 of the Working Environment Act (WEA) on orders and other individual decisions and section 69 of the framework regulations on administrative decisions, see section 4.1, items (1) and (2) of the WEA on general requirements regarding the working environment, and sections 18 and 22 of the management regulations on working environment analysis and handling of non-conformities respectively, Equinor Mongstad is ordered to:

- conduct a systematic review of its systems for managing working environment risk at Equinor Mongstad in order to ensure that SIP personnel are not subject to adverse physical and mental stresses, and to ensure that safety considerations are provided for. See non-conformities 5.1.1, 5.1.2 and 5.1.5.

- prepare a binding, time-delimited schedule for corrective measures, with reference to non-conformities 5.1.1, 5.1.2 and 5.1.5, that highlights prioritisation of the measures, describing any compensatory measures to be implemented until non-conformities are rectified.

The deadline for preparing the schedule is set at 11 January 2019.

The report contains non-conformities other than those which form the basis for the notice of order, and we have asked Equinor Mongstad to report on how these will be addressed by 2 November 2018.

Concerning the non-conformities that comprise deficient risk assessment of incidents and failure to notify incidents, we have also asked Equinor to investigate whether similar deficiencies in classifying and notifying incidents exist at other onshore installations.

We have also requested the company’s assessment of the improvement point observed.

Øyvind Midttun, press contact
Email: oyvind.midttun@ptil.no | +47 51 87 34 77