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Audit on Norne - helicopter deck and emergency preparedness

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA), conducted an audit of Statoil's Norne FPSO facility in cooperation with the Civil Aviation Authority (Luftfartstilsynet - Ltil), in the period 28 - 30 November 2005. The audit focused on the helicopter deck and emergency preparedness. We received a positive impression of the working environment and of cooperation between the safety delegate service and the onboard management, but have uncovered some nonconformities regarding the general alarm reaction pattern and the availability of fire retardant blankets.

Norne (Source: Simon Møkster Shipping)The audit on Norne began with the kick-off meeting once the audit team had arrived at the Norne facility (pictured).

It was conducted through interviews with managers, technical personnel and the safety delegate service on board.

Some interviews were conducted with both audit bodies present, and some with only PSA or Ltil present.

Background for the audit

The reason for the audit is that the PSA, with technical assistance from the Ltil, has created a joint plan for several audit activities for 2005, with main focus on helicopter decks and emergency preparedness.

The audit was conducted pursuant to Sections 11, 20, 21 and 22 of the Management Regulations, Section 71 of the Facilities Regulations concerning helicopter decks, cf. regulations on continental shelf flying - commercial aviation to and from helicopter decks on permanent and mobile facilities in the sea, BSL D 5-1, and Ch. XI-I of the Activity Regulations, general emergency preparedness requirements, Section 68 on the handling of hazard and accident situations.

Purpose of the audit

The purpose of the audit was to verify that Statoil's management systems safeguard the onboard preparedness in general, and in particular that the helicopter deck is operated in an appropriate manner. The audit authorities also aim to help prevent aviation accidents that may be traced to properties of the helicopter deck or its operation.

The audit attempted to verify that the helicopter deck on Norne satisfies the regulatory requirements concerning loads with regard to aircraft used, positioning, design, size, barriers, general requirements, visual aids, operational equipment, fire and rescue preparedness, maintenance and operation, and the operations and emergency preparedness manual.

During the review of the management systems we focused on organization, expertise, maintenance, handling of nonconformities and improvements with regard to the operation of the helicopter deck and key emergency measures related to the helicopter deck.

With regard to the emergency preparedness on the facility, we also focused on evacuation equipment, evacuation routes, marking of evacuation routes, plus the emergency preparedness organisation and emergency response personnel with those tasks that relate to the handling of incidents.

Result of the audit

We identified no issues on Norne that will lead to a notification of order. The result of the audit is based on interviews with the personnel on board, our observation of an emergency preparedness exercise and an inspection of the facility.

Before going offshore, the PSA requested and received relevant governing documents from Statoil, and our audit activity was based on these together with public laws and regulations and the auditing bodies' goals for the audit.

We have uncovered nonconformities with regard to the general alarm reaction pattern and the availability of fire retardant blankets.

The PSA gained a positive impression of the working environment and the cooperation between the safety delegate service and the management on board.~LT~/P>

Other observations made by the audit team with regard to aviation safety and emergency preparedness have also been noted as improvement points.

An emergency preparedness exercise was carried out in connection with the helicopter deck. The audit team observed the exercise both outside on the helicopter deck and inside with the emergency control team in the Central Control Room.

An inspection round was made together with the platform management and an observer from Statoil in order to assess emergency preparedness equipment, marking of escape routes and other safety signposting.

The audit report makes observations on the following issues:

  • Fire retardant blankets are missing.

  • The actual announcements over the PA system are not in accordance with the routines described in the action plan and the governing documents concerning a general alarm.

  • The D value (marking the size of the helicopter deck) was not the same in the different documents.

  • The helicopter deck was not painted with fire-retardant paint.

  • Weak lights in the helicopter deck edge lights.

  • Worn marking of switches for the alarm system located by the helicopter deck.

  • Deficient written information to the OIM regarding status for the helicopter deck's equipment and services.

  • Deficiencies in the daily check lists for the helicopter deck.

  • The governing document for helicopter operations has not been updated.

  • Deficiencies in the routine for control of equipment in the search and rescue team's equipment cabinet.

  • Missing routine for MOB preparedness in connection with work over the open sea.

  • A lack of agreement between the Safety Plan and the actual equipment on site.

  • The hand-held fire extinguisher and the foam system had not been checked in accordance with the stipulated interval.

  • Deficient systems in connection with updated or new governing documents.

  • It is unclear whether it is possible to take Norne's lifeboats on board the area standby vessel "Stril Poseidon".

  • Uncertainty with regard to the consequences for response personnel who do not meet the physical requirements (internal requirements).

Contact in the PSA:
Mike Theiss