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Audit of cleaning, hygiene and working environment management for catering employees - summary

In 2007 and 2008, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) and the Norwegian Board of Health in Rogaland (NBH-R) have audited the management of cleaning and hygiene as well as working environment conditions for the catering employees in the petroleum activities on the Norwegian shelf. In an identical letter, we have informed relevant players about our findings during the audit.

31 companies –  operators, shipping companies and catering companies - were covered by the audit. In previous audits, it has emerged that catering employees have relatively high sick leave rates, and that the management of cleaning and working environment for the catering employees was deficient.

Data from the project Risk level on the Norwegian Shelf (RNNS – now RNNP) have also confirmed that sick leave and work load among catering employees was high.

The audit was also a follow-up of the project ”Lift for catering”, based in the Safety Forum, which was carried out in the industry from 2001 to 2003.

The topic is also included as part of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway's focus on groups exposed to risk.

Main impression following the audit
The audit was aimed at:

  • 16 operating companies, including one company with its own catering,
  • 12 shipping companies, including one company with its own catering,
  • three catering companies.

The replies of all three catering companies contained deficient information, which led us to summon them to separate audit meetings with the PSA and NBH.
One company has been given an order (link), in addition to one company having had some non-conformities identified (link). Otherwise, the audit identified some deficiencies within the management of cleaning and hygiene, as well as working environment for the catering employees:

  • With the exception of one company, the catering companies had mostly satisfactory governing documents.
  • Several descriptions showed potential for improvement. Some of the companies had identified this themselves and stated that they had initiated processes to improve matters.
  • In one individual company, the employee participation had been deficient in the preparation of the reply and improvement measures.
  • Systematic mapping and risk assessments of working environment were lacking to a great extent, and relevant competence is rarely involved.
  • There were major challenges related to facilitation for employees with reduced work capacity.
  • There was a high threshold for reporting possible work-related illness.
  • The audit showed that all the catering companies had deficient systems for training as regards health-related risk.
  • Some shipping companies had deficient follow-up of the catering company.

The feedback from the companies shows that the audit has resulted in a review of own routines for management within the individual elements, and that this has contributed to the initiation of useful processes and measures.