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Audit of technical and operational safety and learning from incidents at Hammerfest LNG

Audit: During the period 11 to 14 May 2009, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of StatoilHydro (SH). The audit targeted technical and operational safety and learning from incidents at Hammerfest LNG. We identified no non-conformities in relation to the regulatory requirements.


During the audit, there was a follow-up of how SH maintains its safety-critical barriers and how the organisation utilises information from other incidents in the group and relevant international incidents. In addition, the status of working hours schemes was followed up.

Hammerfest LNG 

Hammerfest LNG

Background for the audit
The PSA is to set standards for and follow up to ensure that the players in the petroleum activities maintain high standards as regards health, safety and the environment, and thereby also contribute towards creating the greatest possible values for the Norwegian society.

The PSA shall also contribute towards reducing the risk level in the petroleum activities by following up the players to ensure that they promote technical and operational integrity on the facilities, and also follow up the interplay between people/technology/organisation (MTO) in HSE-critical systems.

The facility has been through a long period with a high level of activity and simultaneous operation. Risk management and learning from incidents are important elements in achieving good processes to increase safety on the facility.

The audit was conducted on the basis of the temporary regulations dated 19 December 2003 relating to safety and the working environment for certain land-based petroleum facilities and associated pipeline systems (temporary regulations), and regulations relating to systematic health, environment and safety work in enterprises (the Internal Control Regulations).

Purpose of the audit
Safety critical barriers must be safeguarded in a unified and consistent manner, so that the risk of major accidents is reduced as far as possible. The PSA achieves this by

  • following up that the industry establishes and further develop systems for barrier management from an MTO perspective, which is in accordance with the intention of the regulations.
  • contribute to developing good expertise both in the industry and the PSA in relation to safeguarding barrier functions.
  • contribute to ensuring that simultaneous operations and modification are carried out with a prudent safeguarding of the safety critical barriers.

Result of the audit
No non-conformities were identified in connection with the audit. The report contains five observations with a potential for improvement:

  • The systematic management which through all units must ensure that all personnel who work on the facility do so in a safe manner and contribute to improved risk reduction.
  • Governing documents and operationalisation of these to make the function and performance visible in order to improve important safety-critical barriers. This particularly applies to the prevention and constraining of major accidents.
  • Work methodology which is to ensure organisational learning from incidents can improved in regard to underlying causes. Follow-up and verification that measures are appropriate and provides the desired effected can be improved.
  • Walkways and elsewhere where personnel congregate can be better sheltered against ice blocks which loosen and fall down.
  • Routines to prevent falling objects and that these injure personnel can improved.