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Minutes of Safety Forum meeting 5/2009

The key topics at the Safety Forum meeting on 12 November was the work on a new Storting White Paper and the press briefing on the same date, where the parties' efforts to provide safer lifeboats and improve the chemical working environment in the industry was dealt with.

Several other important issues were also discussed. The status of the work on a new Storting White Paper, mooring issues, the annual Safety Forum conference, , psychosocial working environment, crew changes in open sea and lessons learned from aviation were also on the agenda.

Accidents resulting in media attention
The HSE work assumes a systematic risk-based approach in a long-term perspective to avoid undesirable incidents and accidents. It is the latter which also results in media attention.

However, the Safety Forum had an ambition to highlight the tripartite collaboration relating to improvement processes and projects under the auspices of the Safety Forum. A press briefing was therefore held where various media as well as information and technical sectors had been invited to receive an update on the status of two key projects; the chemicals project and the lifeboat project.

Both are demanding projects/processes, implemented through tripartite collaboration, and based in the Safety Forum.

Attendance was high. Although the media reported on the challenges related to the lifeboat situation exclusively, the high attendance from the industry contributed to the Safety Forum and its work becoming better known to the industry and the members of the associations.

Chemical health risk
The chemicals project was initiated by the industry in 2008 following lobbying and issues raised by the employees and political, professional and audit initiatives by the authorities. The project represents a substantial effort in an area which has been somewhat neglected in the industry. The challenge now will be to disseminate the knowledge and involve the companies which have not given priority to participating in the project or lack substantial technical expertise in this area. The employee representatives in the Safety Forum are concerned with involving the affected parties.

Safe evacuation – the owner's responsibility
In light of the fact that the lifeboat projects under the auspices of OLF and the Norwegian Shipowners' Association have been concluded, the work will continue in 2010 under the auspices of the industry through the lifeboat network. In this connection, several forum members pointed out the lack of follow-up in the industry of unresolved issues which have been uncovered as regards some of equipment.

Director General of the PSA and chair of the Safety Forum, Magne Ognedal summarised the debate as follows: The largest challenge facing us now will be to make all the owners assume their responsibility as regards implementing updated knowledge and outstanding work to meet the regulatory requirements in the area.

White Paper for HSE on land and offshore
The work on the new working life White Paper is under way, both with the authorities and the National Institute of Occupational Health (STAMI), based upon contributions from the parties in industry made through Safety Forum, the departments and R&D milieus.

The Storting White Paper is a political document and the resulting priorities and proposals for measures they result in will of course be a consequence of political decisions. Status reports were given for processes during the meeting and the members were very concerned about both the contents of the White Paper, where the parties remain uncertain, and the process leading up to the finished article, including the choice of informants for special projects. The Ministry stated that it had noted these assessments and that it would return to the party involvement in the process towards the final paper. The paper will remain on the Safety Forum's strategic agenda until the final paper has been completed.

Loss of anchor and position – a significant safety challenge
Mooring and positioning have a number of related risk challenges for floating facilities in operation on the shelf. The topic has been raised several times in the Safety Forum meetings, partly in light of the serious potential consequences of loss of anchor and position. The Norwegian Shipowners' Association was asked to provide a status report for the so-called Mooring Project.

The project has, however, been put on hold, as the relevant resource persons in the industry have been busy with the davit-launched lifeboat project. On the same occasion, the Norwegian Shipowners' Association's representative stated that there are a number of processes under way in the so-called Mooring Forum and in other key industry forums. From 2010, the reporting of mooring line incidents will be included in the Shipowners' Association's bench-marking system.

SF's 2010 annual conference
The topic for Safety Forum's 2010 annual conference, which will be held in the Hall Toll in Stavanger on 3 June 2010, was also discussed. Several ideas were put forward following a creative brainstorming session, and the secretariat was assigned the task of presenting three drafts for various approaches for the program, to be discussed in the meeting in January.

Learning and lessons learned
The working environment surveys topic had been raised by one of the members, based on a critical review of the use of such surveys.. The members were encouraged to look into the survey, while SF will discuss its general findings.

Another member referred to experiences from the industry as regards crew changes in open sea, which might entail significant risk. The industry was encouraged to raise this issue with the operators.

The members were also encouraged to learn from the aviation industry as regards handling of toxic gases on board airplanes.

For detailed minutes and presentations – see the links to the right.