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Audit of safety and working environment at Nyhamna

On 16-17 November 2004, we conducted an audit of Norsk Hydro's (Hydro's) HSE management. The audit activity was particularly focused on blasting, rock work and factors associated with work equipment. Representatives of the Directorate of Labour Inspection and the Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning assisted in the audit by providing expert personnel.

The basis of the supervisory activity was requirements laid down in the following regulations:

  • Provisional regulations relating to safety and working environment for certain petroleum facilities on land and associated pipeline systems.

  • Regulations relating to health, safety and working environment at construction and building sites (building regulations).

  • Regulations relating to systematic health, environment and safety work in enterprises (the HSE regulations).

  • Regulations relating to the use of work equipment.

  • Regulations relating to health and safety in connection with mining work.

  • Regulations relating to the handling of explosives.


Background for the audit

There has been increasing activity in 2004 at Ormen Lange Nyhamna as regards site preparation for the construction phase for the land facility.

The dominant activities during the audit period were: blasting work, tunneling, haulage and the building of a construction site hotel.


Nyhamna (Source: Norsk Hydro)

During the period before the audit, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) was notified about two serious incidents related to inadequate safeguarding and closing of areas where blasting work was being carried out.

We have followed these incidents closely, and during the audit we have verified that measures have been implemented.

Purpose of the audit

The objective of the audit was to examine and clarify that Hydro manages the building and construction activity at Nyhamna in accordance with applicable requirements.

An important aspect in this context is Hydro's follow-up of how the contractors manage HSE.

Result of the audit

The main impression gained from the audit is that Hydro fulfils the authorities' requirements and expectations as regards HSE management of the activities at Nyhamna.

This impression is based on the following observations:

  • A comprehensive training program adapted to the relevant project phase and development of HSE understanding that includes all contractors/employees.

  • Visible prioritization of HSE follow-up, including a system to identify non-conformities.

  • A motivated HSE staff with the capacity for closely monitoring the construction area, also as regards assistance to contractors in safe job preparations (SJA), etc.

  • Active management follow-up through meetings, inspections, seminars, etc.

  • High reporting frequency for incidents and hazardous conditions, as well as use of such reports in the preventive work.

  • Rapid follow-up of actions after HSE inspections, etc.

  • Low injury rate.

  • High HSE level as regards blasting and rock work, compared with the sector in general. Nevertheless, we observed conditions that are not in accordance with regulatory requirements.

  • Good follow-up of work equipment with related certificates and competence requirements.

  • Systematic follow-up of working hours.

  • There appears to be a potential for improvement with regard to uncovering underlying causes of less serious incidents.

The audit revealed several non-conformities in relation to the regulations. None of them were serious enough, neither individually nor overall, that they would warrant the issuance of an order.

Contact person i the Petroleum Safety Authority
Mike Theiss