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Summary from Safety Forum meeting No. 3/2007

The final report on chemical health risk was one of several major issues reviewed and discussed during the Safety Forum meeting on 21 June 2007. Other topics for discussion were well integrity, working hours, night work and maintenance management.

Chemical health risk is an area where the Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion has given the industry a clear signal to take steps to increase the progress of the improvement work. The fact that the historical data exposure is poor is very problematic, and the Ministry has stated that it cannot accept that the present systematic measurements and risk assessments are not in place.

The pilot project for chemical working environment offshore follows up Storting Report No. 12 relating to HSE in the petroleum activities, in which the chemicals area was given much attention.

The project is based on the results of the report "Chemical exposure on the Norwegian Shelf" from 2006 and elaborates on historical chemicals exposure and risk.

The project has identified knowledge gaps specific to the offshore industry, but also areas which can be applied to the landbased industry. The work which has been carried out creates a basis for identifying and giving priority to research and development requirements in the area, and several research activities have been initiated by the industry.

OLF will summon the parties to a meeting this month to discuss a progress plan for the efforts in this area. Director of the PSA Magne Ognedal will evaluate the results of the meeting and provide the Minister with an assessment of the plan.

Well integrity
The industry's efforts to continue the work initiated by the PSA to improve well integrity on the Norwegian Shelf was presented by Jan Krokeide, OLF DMS (Drilling Managers’ Forum) coordinator.

In 2006, the industry, represented by DMS, and the PSA cooperated to survey 406 out of 1908 wells. This uncovered that 18 per cent of the surveyed wells had integrity problems. DMS has gone to work on four recommendations from the survey work and also held a seminar dealing with areas for improvement in March. A common guideline defining minimum information for transfer of experience and use in well design will also be prepared.

Working hours
Working hours was a key topic at the meeting. The PSA reported the status of the working hours project with reference to the task assigned to the PSA by Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion (AID) following Storting Report No. 12.

The purpose of the project was primarily to establish the knowledge status and assess knowledge needs related to the offshore petroleum activities and "commuter schemes" on land facilities.

The project has also held a conference with the parties where the research milieus presented the knowledge status in the field and the need for further research and development activities. The project submitted its final report to the AID on 30 April 2007.

The report consists of three sub-reports; knowledge reports from Finland and the UK - and one report from STAMI based on them - with a professional evaluation of the research method.

The project has been carried out as a tripartite process, where the multiparty group also contributed with suggestions for and evaluations of the research reports. This work will provide the basis for the strategy work and priorities in the Research Council of Norway's (NFR) HSE research within the boundaries of the Petromaks program.

Night work
The disagreement over the interpretation of the night work regulations was another key topic during the meeting. The Ministry accounted for the work it has initiated to review the present regulations, in which the assumption will be that no significant changes should be made in the material regulations relating to night work and in which the PSA's assessment will be very important.

Strong criticism was levelled at OLF's follow-up of the PSA's interpretation letter (see link box) by the employee organisations, as OLF has obtained a legal consideration which opposes PSA's interpretation. OLF stated that they want a constructive clarification of these issues as regards the interaction in the coming process.

Director of the PSA Magne Ognedal emphasised that this is an awkward and in principle difficult situation to handle. For the PSA, it is a paradox that our task of clarifying and interpreting the regulations is not accepted by OLF in this case.

Maintenance management
The summary of the PSA's audit of the maintenance management in the industry in 2006-2007 directed at Statoil, Transocean, ExxonMobil, CoPSAS and Hydro was presented.

The audit uncovered significant non-conformities between the companies' own presentations of the status in the area, while the in-depth audits uncovered non-conformities in fundamental areas such as classification and use of same, documentation, control of outstanding maintenance and competence.

Status and orientation
Other issues, such as the summary from the annual Safety Forum conference, serious incidents, including information on the Transfer of Experience seminar to be held by OLF on 28 August 2007, were also given time and attention.

The item Safety Forum in development, which concerns the strategic agenda of the Safety Forum, was reviewed, and the Norwegian Shipowners' Association presented the status of their work as regards loss of anchorage and position.

Under any other business, an account was given concerning the plans for Safety Forum's visit to Kårstø on 19 September and the union Lederne's survey concerning continuous shift schemes which will be carried out with the reply deadline set to 15 August 2007.

The status for all ongoing matters was also presented.

Contact in the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway:
Angela Ebbesen, Safety Forum technical secretary
Email: angela.ebbesen@ptil.no