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Audit - working hours, employee participation, rest and restitution

During the period 16-17 December 2003, we conducted an audit aimed at compliance with the working hours provisions, employee participation, rest and restitution. The companies subject to the audit were Norsk Hydro, Prosafe Drilling Services and BJ Services on Oseberg Sør.

The audit also targeted how drilling activities are planned and implemented, as well as how Norsk Hydro (NH) handles follow-up of Prosafe Drilling Services (Prosafe) and BJ Services (BJ) as regards the topics of the audit.

The audit was carried out on land through presentations and interviews with relevant personnel from the companies' onshore and offshore organizations.

Background for the audit

In recent years, the employee organizations have pointed out that the companies are increasingly planning for the use of overtime.

Storting White Paper No. 7 (2001-2002) on health, environment and safety in the petroleum activities discusses issues related to working hours and concludes in part that unreasonably long work shifts entail a safety risk.

The requirements that govern the ratio between rest and work, requirements for providing for good restitution, and requirements regarding the scope of night work are clarified in the HSE regulations that entered into force on 1 January 2002.

The requirements for employee participation are also clarified in these regulations.

Purpose of the audit

The objective of the audit activity was to follow up how Hydro, Prosafe and BJ ensure compliance with the working hours provisions, employee participation and rest and restitution on Oseberg Sør.

Result of the audit

The companies have systems in place to safeguard the working hours provisions.

There is little use of overtime in the drilling and well activities on Oseberg Sør (OSS). Additional crew are sent offshore as needed. Most position categories are covered 24 hours a day with "back to back" shifts.

There is a great deal of emphasis on minimizing the use of overtime, and our understanding after the audit is that the companies have established procedures and follow-up to ensure that no one works more than 16 hours a day. All overtime must be clarified and approved in advance.

Shared sleeping quarters does not normally occur on OSS. Most cabins are singles, while ten are doubles. The double cabins are shared by one person working the night shift and one person working the day shift.
Cabin capacity on OSS is scarce and the activities on board must be carefully planned. During well interventions, activities such as maintenance must be postponed.

The following non-conformities were noted during the audit:

  • No impact assessment prior to change in manning level.
  • Deficient training in the use of Hydro's management system on the part of hired drilling supervisors.
  • Manning levels in excess of the number of beds on board.

Rest and restitution in connection with the fact that some individuals only work the night shift has been noted as an area with a potential for improvement.

The PSA's follow-up

Contact person in the PSA:
Mike Theiss