The letter containing the notification of order has been sent to all companies considered obligated parties* with a responsibility to comply with regulatory requirements for such deployment arrangements.
Obligated party means the company, person etc. toward which/whom the provisions of the regulations are directed and to which/whom these provisions grant rights to and impose obligations.
During our follow-up of the companies' work of mapping the weaknesses in skid-launched free-fall lifeboats and implementing compensatory measures, we have identified a need for the industry to consider the entire matter of "safe evacuation of facilities" in a comprehensive manner.
Therefore, other types of evacuation equipment and means of rescue, and the deployment measures for these, must, in addition to skid-launched free-fall lifeboats, be included in the total quality and suitability assessments.
In our notification of order we have pointed out the responsibility that each player in the petroleum activities has to conduct activities in a safe manner, and we emphasise, inter alia, the following:
Operations using lifting equipment (deployment arrangement) on evacuation and rescue equipment often entail lifting people. For instance, during deployment of conventional lifeboats, or free-fall lifeboats in lowering mode, involved personnel may be exposed to a high risk if something unforeseen should happen to the deployment arrangement. We know of several incidents on foreign offshore sites in recent years where failures in the deployment arrangement for conventional lifeboats have had catastrophic consequences for involved personnel. Technical faults have often proven to be the dominant underlying causes of these events.
Evacuation equipment and means of rescue and deployment arrangements must be available and possible to use safely in an emergency situation, as well as during both maintenance and training/drills. The risk of operational mistakes may be higher in an emergency situation than during training and drills. This entails that the deployment arrangement for evacuation and rescue equipment, etc., should be especially designed with the aim of reducing or eliminating the possibility of operational mistakes in mind. Our experience is that this is not always fully ensured.
In our experience, the maintenance programs for deployment arrangements may be deficient. This may be due to manufacturers and suppliers not always taking into account special circumstances on the shelf, such as great lifting heights, difficult access, continuous exposure to the environment etc.
The responsibility for ensuring and documenting compliance with the regulations relating to design and outfitting of facilities, etc. (the Facilities Regulations), which requires that it should be possible to evacuate personnel on facilities rapidly and efficiently to a safe area during all weather conditions, cf. Section 43 of the Facilities Regulations, lies with the industry.
Our notification of order is as follows:
Pursuant to Section 58 of the Framework Regulations relating to administrative decisions, cf. Section 15 of the Framework Regulations relating to verifications, the addressees are, as obligated parties, ordered to verify compliance with Section 9 of the Framework Regulations relating to principles for risk reduction, cf. Section 43 of the Facilities Regulations relating to evacuation equipment, as well as to identify and assess which standards the evacuation equipment and means of rescue and their deployment arrangements have been manufactured and installed according to.
The addressees are furthermore ordered to identify which assumptions were used originally as a basis for the development of these and assess their relevance, as well as any limits to their application in the petroleum activities. Based on such reviews and assessments, the individual addressee must then establish a comprehensive standard basis for its facilities to ensure compliance with this.
The addressees must carry out such a comprehensive review, and identify needs for implementing any compensation measures by 19 March 2007.
We have requested that the companies submit any comments to our notification of order by 19 February 2007.
Contact in the PSA:
Inger Anda, press spokesperson
Tel.: +47 970 54 064