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The Safety Forum visited the Kårstø facility

The Safety Forum visited the Kårstø facility on 19 September. The following day was set aside for an all-day meeting in Haugesund to discuss topics including chemical working environment, the lifeboat issue, safety training for the countries around the North Sea Basin, shift work and serious incidents.


After the meeting, the members of the Safety Forum enjoyed a tour
of the facility during which they were given a thorough introduction
to the facility's 20-year history and the challenges it currently faces.

In cooperation with Statoil Kårstø and Naturkraft, the operator, Gassco, prepared an interesting program for the meeting and tour which was very well received by the Safety Forum's members and observers. The main items on the meeting agenda were the HSE challenges at the facility and the Safety Forum's strategic agenda. Mutual presentations and films opened the meeting.

The meeting was characterized by constructive and open dialogue in which special attention was paid to HSE challenges linked to the potential for major accidents and challenges as a consequence of a changing labor market. Statoil also gave an account of its internal training measures to increase knowledge and awareness surrounding risk factors and HSE challenges at Kårstø.

The members of the Safety Forum underlined the importance of promoting a comprehensive perspective for the activities through ensuring that all players are represented, both as regards the companies, the management, the employees and the safety delegate service.

Meeting of the Safety Forum on 20 September
Once again, chemical working environment was one of the central topics at the Safety Forum's meeting. This time, there was particular emphasis on the industry's plan to accelerate necessary improvement work, which was revealed in the PSA's report on chemical working environment.

Minister Bjarne Håkon Hanssen has expressed clear expectations for the industry as regards a binding commitment in this important area. The Safety Forum has been selected as an appropriate arena to ensure participation by all parts of the industry, as well as by employers and employees through their organizations.

Project manager Jon Efskind, hired by OLF to lead this work, gave a description of the plan which contained the following points: exposure database, historical exposure, audits and supervision, literature database, two-way reporting of occupational illness, health risk during ongoing exposure, manifestation of health risk from previous exposure, hot work, clarification of HSE responsibility between operators and suppliers and communication of results. Organization, management and participation were also addressed.

PSA director and head of the Safety Forum, Magne Ognedal, was particularly interested in achieving binding action plans with milestones so as to create predictability for the involved parties.

OLF stated that it would prepare a proposed meeting plan and would contribute to ensure that everyone is well-informed and involved.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion (AID) has also taken the initiative vis-à-vis the Directorate of Labour Inspection and STAMI to commence the necessary work in this area in Norwegian employment.

Status of ongoing issues
Status reports on ongoing issues were also given during the meeting, including follow-up of divers, where the project work has been characterized by lack of confidence both in the professional community and on the part of central trade unions; the lifeboat issue, where there is still concern and uncertainty among the involved parties; and the working hours project, where there are still contradictory views among the involved parties as regards their view of the authorities' interpretive letter regarding night work.

Time was also set aside for a discussion of the status of the hot work project, which has now become an integrated part of the work being done in the field of chemical working environment.

Serious incidents
There was a review of the serious incidents that have occurred in recent months, such as the fatal accident on Saipem 7000 during a lift of the subsea separator on the Tordis field on 12 August, the serious lifting incident on the West Epsilon on 14 September and a gas leak on Ekofisk B on 28 June.

The seminar held on 28 August to share experience gained from serious incidents was summarized and evaluated. The initiative was viewed as being positive and useful, with a high degree of openness. The experiences will be evaluated after the next seminar is held in January 2008. The presentations can be found on OLF's website, www.olf.no.

Other business
OLF received a positive response as regards its efforts to achieve an agreement on safety and preparedness training for the countries around the North Sea Basin. A simplified and condensed edition of the matrix for following up Storting White Paper No. 12 was also presented.

The Norwegian Shipowners' Association reviewed the work done in the shipping industry from 2005 and the plans to reduce future serious incidents linked to loss of anchors and position.

Brief summaries were also given of the status of work on HSE in contracts and on planned activities under the direction of the risk level project. This time, the topics were related to improvement measures for the questionnaire survey and implementation of two workshops for selected groups who work both offshore and on land.

Wenche I. Sola with the trade union "Lederne" gave a summary of the results of a major survey the union conducted regarding continuous shift work.

Finally, Halvor Erikstein, SAFE, talked about noise problems on helicopters.

Contact in the Petroleum Safety Authority:
Angela Ebbesen, technical secretary in the Safety Forum
E-mail: angela.ebbesen@ptil.no