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Working Together for Safety achieved international regulators reward

The health and safety achievements of three organisations working in the offshore oil and gas industry were honoured at an awards ceremony held at the Palace of Westminster, London on March 31.
The awards were presented as part of a three-day conference that aims to bring together regulators from around the world as a first step to creating global consistency in safety in the offshore oil and gas industry and to raise standards on an international basis.

The International Regulators' Forum (IRF) for the offshore oil and gas industry presented UK's Step Change in Safety, Norway-based Working Together for Safety Group and international contractor Noble Drilling with the Carolita Kallaur award in recognition of their outstanding international safety leadership.

Head of Working together for safety, Helge Wiig (left)
achieved the IRF prize from IRF member and Director
General of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway,
Magne Ognedal, and member of Parliament, Frank Doran.
Congratulating Working Together for Safety, Magne Ognedal, Director-General of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, said:

"This award acknowledges the development of a number of recommendations and guidelines. A particularly outstanding achievement has been the development of uniform rules for issuing work permits and for carrying out safe job analysis related to work on installations. Since around 70 per cent of offshore staff move between several different installations there had previously been a significant risk of mistakes being made and hence the increased potential of workers suffering injury. Moreover, the guidance is now available in English and is also available as an e-learning course.

Commenting on Step Change in Safety's success, Taf Powell, Head of the Health and Safety Executive's Offshore Division said: "This award recognises Step Change's efforts in raising awareness of safety as a key driver for best sustainable business performance and in securing long term reductions in injury rates and near miss incidents in the UK offshore industry. The award also recognises that Step Change's safety guidance booklets and websites have gained worldwide influence."

Speaking on Noble Drilling's achievement, Roel van de Lint, Deputy Inspector-General of Mines, Netherlands State Supervision of Mines, said:

"This award recognises Noble Drilling's work in developing the North West European Health, Safety and Environment case guidelines. In particular, this guide has resulted in a harmonised approach for health, safety and environmental cases that now makes the risk assessment process and supervision by regulators much more transparent for all parties involved."

Background info:

1. Step Change in Safety is an industry initiative to improve safety performance, awareness and behaviours throughout the UK oil and gas industry. Step Change in Safety is a non-profit making organisation supported by several Trade Associations across the industry.

2. Working Together for Safety was established in January 2001 as a step to improve safety on board vessels and installations in the offshore petroleum industry. It is a forum for industry stakeholders, with a mandate to contribute to enhancing safety in offshore activities, reduce the number of personnel injuries and catastrophes and improve the industry's reputation. The project has been very productive and developed a number of recommendations and guidelines.

3. Noble Drilling is a major worldwide drilling contractor. In 1997, the company was the only contractor active in four different North Sea coastal states and was selected to undergo the first multi-national audit, which focused on their Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) management system. During this period Noble Drilling was involved in a process of changing and upgrading its management system. From this audit it became clear that not only one common system, but also one standard safety case (instead of a different one per coastal state) would contribute to improving safety and health performance.

Noble Drilling Netherlands management was instrumental in this initiative. In depth reviews were conducted with regulators and it became obvious that a harmonised HSE case approach would make the risk assessment process and supervision by the regulators much more transparent for all parties involved. It became clear that other drilling contractors in the North Sea were thinking along the same lines. As a result, it was agreed to develop the North West European HSE case guidelines. The IADC made funds available for expert support and Noble Drilling Netherlands BV volunteered to act as the project's champion.

4. The late Carolita Kallaur was Associate Director for the US Offshore Minerals Management Service (MMS) between 1997 and 2002. Ms Kallaur joined MMS when it was established in 1982, and served in a variety of positions. She was a well-respected expert in the field of minerals resource management both within the Department of the Interior, at the State and local level, and within the international resource management community. In the later years of Carolita's career, she spent much of her time promoting the importance of international standards, and the sharing of information among regulators. She understood that the offshore industryspanned international boundaries, and believed that consistent requirements would enhance safety and operational efficiency globally.

Carolita was also an advocate of recognising those companies and organisations that demonstrate exceptional leadership in promoting and achieving international safety objectives. Both the international conference and the safety awards were objectives that she vigorously promoted. The IRF therefore agreed that it would be most fitting to honour the recipients and Carolita by attaching her name to these awards.