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Audit of management of the working environment on Melkøya

Audit: From 17 – 19 November 2008 the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of StatoilHydro (SH) and selected contractors relating to management of working environment conditions on Melkøya.

The audit focused on how SH, through its system for management of the working environment, identifies and follows up groups in relation to the risks they are exposed to in the working environment.

Interviews were conducted, documents reviewed and verifications made during the audit.

Melkøya (source StatoilHydro)

Melkøya (source: StatoilHydro)

Background for the audit
The PSA has conducted several audits specifically directed towards the working environment at the land facilities after authority responsibility was transferred from the Labour Inspectorate to the PSA in 2004.

The background for these audits has been to gain insight into and an overview of working environment challenges and the players’ ability to manage working environment conditions.

Identification and follow-up of employee groups exposed to risk are one of five main commitment areas for the PSA in 2008.

During the audit on Melkøya we were particularly interested in how groups of employees exposed to particular risks are identified as part of the systematic follow-up of the working environment.

We also looked at SH’s and selected contractor’s systematic facilitation work and follow-up of employees with reduced working capacity.

We also assessed the cooperation and distribution of responsibilities with the contractors and subcontractors in this work.

The audit included reviewing working hours schemes employed at the facility and verification of whether these schemes were in line with the regulatory requirements.

The formal basis for conducting the audit is the following statutes and regulations:

  • Temporary regulations relating to safety and working environment for certain petroleum facilities on land and associated pipeline systems (Temporary Regulations).
  • Regulations relating to systematic health, safety and environment work in enterprises (Internal Control Regulations) that apply to Melkøya through the Temporary Regulations.
  • The Working Environment Act (aml) and relevant regulations from the Arbeidstilsynet which aply to Melkøya through the Temporary Regulations.

Purpose of the audit
The purpose of the audit was to verify to what extent SH’s system for follow-up of the working environment functioned in compliance with the requirements in the working environment regulations and internal governing documents, so that employees and employee groups are identified and followed up in relation to the risks to which they are exposed in the working environment.

This also includes how SH and selected contractors, as part of the systematic HSE work, facilitate and follow-up employees with reduced working capacity.

The purpose of the audit was also to consider the cooperation between the various players in this work, and to verify that the working hours schemes employed at the facility were in conformance with the regulations.

Result of the audit
We have observed that systematic work takes place to improve the working environment on Melkøya. Among other things, an overview has been established of requirements in the working environment area, and SH has employed an occupational health technician who has conducted verifications and measurements as regards chemicals and noise.

We have also seen that both SH and the main contractors BIS, Aibel and ESS are IA companies (inclusive working life companies) and have procedures in place to follow up employees on sick leave.

The PSA has identified one nonconformity in relation to the regulatory requirements:

  • The systematic mapping and risk assessment of working environment factors on the part of groups employed by contractors is inadequate.

Improvement items were identified within the following areas:

  • Follow-up and facilitation for employees with reduced ability to work varies between groups of workers.
  • Overview and follow-up of occupational illness on the part of contractors could be improved.
  • Training regarding working environment risk for groups employed by contractors could be improved.
  • The system for developing and following up measures within the working environment area can be improved for groups employed by contractors.
  • Only to a limited extent have assessments been made of the overall exposure situation and the hazards as regards injuries for groups of employees.