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National monitoring of working environment and health (NOA) launched

On 6 June, NOA (National monitoring of working environment and health) was officially launched. "We hope and believe that NOA will contribute to us improving our knowledge of the connection between working environment and health. Having access to data from other industries will also be important in order to evaluate the conditions in the petroleum activities," says Director of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) , Magne Ognedal.


National monitoring of working environment and health (NOA) has been established as a separate department of the National Institute of Occupational Health (Stami) and was officially opened by the Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion, Bjarne Håkon Hanssen.

One of its most important tasks will be to monitor working environment field and follow trends over time. In the longer term, this will create a basis for the priorities of the authorities and the parties in the workplace.

"NOA's objective is to contribute to the management of efforts to prevent work-related health damage, i.e. illness, injuries leading to disability and premature death, as well as exclusion from the employment market through sick leave and disability retirement as a result of risk conditions in the workplace," says Stami division director, Steinar Aasnæss

Comprehensive follow-up
"Ensuring that the audit of the petroleum activities is performed in a comprehensive manner is among the main tasks of the PSA. In that regard, it is important to know the state of the working environment and health situation in order to implement the correct measures, and in order to follow up and check if these measures are effective. We believe NOA can provide us with important information on working environment and health conditions in the onshore petroleum activities," emphasised Magne Ognedal in his speech during the opening.

"In both the onshore and the offshore petroleum activities, many work in contractor companies. A large proportion of these have their place of work both in and outside of the petroleum activities. We expect a national monitoring system to be able to provide better mapping of the working environment and health challenges in this employee group, which cross the border between the authority of the PSA and the Directorate of Labour Inspection, enabling us to implement the right measures in cooperation," emphasised Ognedal.

RNNS contribution
The project "Trends in risk levels - Norwegian Continental Shelf" (RNNS) was started in 1999. The objective of the project is to develop and implement measuring tools which show the development of the risk of major accidents, personal injury, working environment and health on the Norwegian Shelf. The results are presented in annual reports. (Read more at www.ptil.no/rnns)

"This is a project from which both we and the petroleum industry have benefited greatly, and it has been the starting point for several initiatives which have been implemented both in the industry in general and in individual companies. It has also been useful in relation to the development of improved knowledge of the correlation between different conditions and the effect this has on safety, working environment and health.

The PSA is to supply NOA with data on work accidents, work-related illness and the results of the biannual questionnaire survey conducted by the Risk level project.

So far, the onshore petroleum activities have not been included in the Risk level project, but in 2006 the PSA started the collection of data, limited to major accidents and serious personal injury.

Important arena
The PSA has long worked purposefully to improve the quantity and the quality of the reporting of work accidents and work-related illness in the offshore activities, and is reasonably content with the reporting.

"For the onshore petroleum activities, we hope NOA can contribute to an upswing in reporting and use of reported data. We also believe that the PSA and the Directorate of labour inspection will get access to a good arena for cooperation in order to improve the systems for reporting data through NOA.

"It is important that the Directorate of labour inspection, the PSA and NOA work closely together to establish a new and useful monitoring system for working environment and work-related health. We in the PSA will do our utmost to achieve this," stated Ognedal.