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Notification of order following audit of identification and follow-up of groups at risk

Audit: During the period 20-29 October 2009, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of Aibel AS' (Aibel's) work to identify and follow up groups of employees that are potentially exposed to risk. Based on our findings, we have issued a notification of order to Aibel and Norisol Norge AS (Norisol).

We have examined how Aibel's system for managing the working environment handles the follow-up of groups that are especially at risk. Aibel's work for Statoil on Troll A was used as a practical case.

Aibel was the main object of the audit, while Statoil as operator and Aibel's subcontractor Norisol were also involved.

The companies were asked to demonstrate to the PSA that they had established a functioning management system which ensured that risk elements for groups of employees were identified, mapped and followed up, so that aspects related to working environment and personnel safety were fully satisfactory in all parts of the contract chain.

Special emphasis was placed on how Statoil, Aibel and the subcontractor assessed the importance of framework conditions (such as contractual conditions and distribution of responsibility between operator, contractor and subcontractor) as regards the risk for contractor and subcontractor employees.

As part of this audit, the PSA wanted to take a closer look at the measures that had been implemented following the incident involving personal injury on Troll A on 18 September 2008. The PSA's investigation report subsequent to this incident identified regulatory nonconformities related to various framework conditions.

During the audit, we focused on how Statoil, Aibel and the subcontractor follow up the specific groups of "mechanics" (employed by Aibel) and ”scaffolders" (employed by Aibel's subcontractor, Norisol). 

The audit consisted of a start-up meeting on land and verifications offshore from 27-29 October 2009. Representatives from Statoil, Aibel and Norisol were present at the start-up meeting on land on 20 October 2009. The following topics were reviewed at the meeting:

  • How Aibel's system for following up the working environment safeguards the follow-up of groups that are particularly exposed to risk
  • Which groups in Aibel, including subcontractors, are considered to be potentially most at risk, and on what basis this assessment was made.
  • What surveys and assessments of working environment factors, individually and collectively (cf. Section 4-1 of the (Norwegian) Working Environment Act on fully satisfactory working environment based on an separate and collective assessment of factors in the working environment) have been carried out for these groups? This assessment shall include both the risk of personal injury and disease.
  • Overview of occurrence and assessment of work-related diseases and injuries in the groups.
  • Account of the framework conditions (both in the interface between Aibel and Statoil and in the interface between Aibel and subcontractors) the groups work under, and an assessment of how these conditions can impact risk and handling of risk (see page 3).
  • Overview of what is done to handle risk (of injury and disease) identified in relation to the groups, including:
     - Prioritisation and implementation of measures based on working environment assessments and surveys
     - Verification from the companies to ensure that measures have been implemented and are functioning as intended
     - Employee participation
     - Training and competence
     - Responsibilities and distribution of roles between operator, contractor and subcontractors
  •  An overview of the most important elements in the contracts between Statoil, Aibel and subcontractors that have direct or indirect impact on personnel safety, both in a major accident perspective and an individual perspective.
  •  Measures following the incident on Troll A on 18 September 2008

Background for the audit
This audit activity is part of the PSA's main priorities for 2009: Groups at risk.

This has also been one of the PSA's main priorities in 2007 and 2008. In 2007 – 2008, the PSA conducted broad-based audit activities targeting seven operators and eight contractors under contract.

The audit focused on the companies' systematic work to develop a comprehensive understanding of the risk for groups of employees, development of measures and cooperation between operators and contractors in this work.

We were also focussed on ensuring that the companies assessed the impact of framework conditions, such as how work is organised, contracts and technologies, on risk.

One of the main conclusions from the PSA's audit activities in this area is that contractor employee groups have a significantly weaker position as regards several of the elements under HSE management, as compared with operator employee groups.

It has come to light that framework conditions such as contractual conditions, economic factors and organisation of work can contribute to the poorer results for contractor groups.

Purpose of the audit
The purpose of the PSA's efforts in 2009 has been to contribute to a reduction in the risk of injury and disease for groups that are particularly exposed to risk by

  • following up to ensure that the companies further develop a comprehensive picture of the risk of disease and injury for groups of employees, and that new knowledge is actively used in a risk-based approach where efforts are aimed at groups where the need and effect are greatest
  • contribute to clarifying links between framework conditions and risk
  • follow up to ensure that the players collectively further develop framework conditions that contribute to ensuring high HSE standards for all groups

The goal of this audit activity was to verify that:

  • A functioning management system has been established which ensures that risk factors for the specific groups of mechanics (Aibel) and scaffolders (Norisol) are identified, mapped and followed up so that working environment and personnel safety are fully satisfactory
  • Statoil, Aibel and Norisol have assessed the significance of framework conditions on the risk for mechanics and scaffolders

Result of the audit
We observed several good HSE-related measures and processes; however, the following nonconformities were identified in the audit:

  • Deficient systematic work in the planning phase as regards assessing the risk for personnel who carry out assembly and dismantling of scaffolding
  • Deficient analysis and risk assessment of the working environment for mechanics and scaffolders
  • Mechanics and scaffolders have not received systematic training and information about working environment risk
  • Aibel and Norisol have not adequately ensured that the work is properly facilitated and that measures are implemented so that hazardous exposure and unfortunate physical strain are avoided for scaffolders and mechanics.

We have issued the following notification of order to Aibel and Norisol:

Pursuant to Section 17 of the Management Regulations relating to analysis of the working environment, Section 3 of the Management Regulations relating to management of health, environment and safety, Section 9 of the Management Regulations relating to planning and Section 31 of the Activities Regulations relating to arrangement of work, cf. Section 5 of the Framework Regulations relating to responsibility, first subsection and Section 58 relating to individual decisions, Aibel and Norisol are ordered to evaluate the systems that are intended to ensure that scaffolders and mechanics have a fully satisfactory working environment, (cf. Items 5.1.1 – 5.1.4 of the report) and to implement the necessary measures to ensure that the working environment is followed up in accordance with the regulations.

The following elements must be included:

  • Systems for assessing the risk for scaffolders – cf. Item 5.1.1 of the report
  • Mappings and risk assessments of working environment factors – cf. Item 5.1.2 of the report
  • Training within relevant working environment risk – cf. Item 5.1.3 of the report
  • Facilitation and measures in the area of working environment for scaffolders and mechanics – cf. Item 5.1.4 of the report

The deadline for complying with the order is set at 15 March 2010. The PSA must be notified when the order has been carried out.

We have asked the companies to submit any comments they might have regarding the notification by 15 January 2010. 

About “orders” vs. “notification of order":
An order is a administrative decision made pursuant to the regulations. Before we issue an order, we usually submit a "notification of order" to the companies involved.

A notification of order is neither a measure nor a warning of sanctions, but part of our administrative process in accordance with the established rules of procedure. The notification is just a first step before an administrative decision is made. 

Journal 2009/963 (documents in Norwegian)