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Audit of working environment, working hours and general application at Nyhamna

During the period 7-9 February 2006 we conducted an audit of Norsk Hydro Project as (Hydro) and contractors and sub-contractors at the Ormen Lange land facility at Nyhamna. The object of the audit was to examine the players' follow-up of regulatory requirements relating to working hours, as well as the wage and working conditions for foreign employees. The audit also comprised the working environment, particularly relevant aspects relating to working hours and foreign employees.


The audit comprised meetings, interviews, verifications of selected areas on the facility, as well as review of documents.

Nyhamna

Nyhamna (source: Norsk Hydro)

Background for the audit

Various working hours and shift schemes are in use at Nyhamna. Some of the schemes have been agreed between the parties, while other schemes not included in the regulatory requirements, are based on dispensations given by the PSA.

A trial scheme (14-21) based on agreements has been established for several of the employees. This scheme goes beyond the framework of earlier schemes we are familiar with.

A considerable number of foreign employees from i.a. former East Block countries are expected to be employed at Nyhamna. They will receive wages and working conditions pursuant to Norwegian wage agreements.

Both working hours and integration of foreign employees could influence the working environment and personal safety at the facility.

The formal basis for conducting the audit is the following statutory requirements:

  • Preliminary regulations relating to safety and working environment for certain petroleum facilities onshore and related pipeline systems.

  • Regulations relating to systematic health, environment and safety work in companies (the Internal Control Regulations) which apply to Nyhamna through the preliminary regulations.

  • The Working Environment Act (AML) and relevant regulations from the Directorate of Labor Inspection which apply to Nyhamna through the preliminary regulations.

  • Regulations relating to general application of the collective wage agreement for certain petroleum facilities onshore (Act relating to general application of wage agreements etc.).

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Purpose of the audit

The purpose of the audit was to obtain a status of the operator's/contractor's management and follow-up practice of the requirements relating to

  • working hours, cf. the Working Environment Act (AML)

  • foreign employees' right to wages and working conditions pursuant to the collective wage agreement, cf. the Act relating to general application of wage agreements etc.

  • working environment and personnel safety related to working hours and foreign employees, cf. AML and regulations.

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Result of the audit

The following nonconformity in relation to the regulatory requirements was identified:

  • Violation of the provisions relating to working hours for the employees of Unicon.

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The following observations indicate a need for improvement:

  • Safety and health risks related to the 14-21 working hours scheme have not been clarified.

  • The quality of HSE training and information to foreign employees is generally lower than for Norwegian or English speaking employees. This could result in insufficient understanding of the risks and unclear communication concerning the risk at the work place.

  • Follow-up of hazardous exposure in the working environment is limited.

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We find it positive that Hydro and the contracting companies maintain a high focus on preventive activities. This is particularly notable as regards undesirable incidents.

A foundation for robust HSE practices has been laid through a diversity of instruments and activities which reach far into the contractors' organisations and influence many levels.

Contact in the PSA:
Mike Theiss