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Health & Safety

EU proposes new offshore health and safety rules

The EU considers that the offshore industry’s current risk-management practices are inadequate and has proposed new rules. This, says Eugene McCarthy, is providing a boost to offshore training organisations at the same time.

La UE considera que las actuales prácticas de gestión de riesgos de la industria de explotación en alta mar no son adecuadas y ha propuesto un nuevo reglamento. Esto, asegura Eugene McCarthy, también supone un impulso para las organizaciones que ofrecen formación para la explotación en alta mar.

Die EU erachtet die derzeitigen Risikomanagementpraktiken der Offshore-Branche als unzureichend und hat neue Bestimmungen vorgelegt. Dies, so Eugene McCarthy, sorgt zugleich für einen Auftrieb bei den Offshore- Schulungseinrichtungen.

by a number of major considerations. For example, oil and gas exploration and production is taking place increasingly offshore, often in complex geographical and geological environments such as deep waters. Also, the EU believes that the scale and characteristics of recent offshore oil and gas accidents and near misses reported worldwide, including the Union, demand action.

T “Tey expose the disparity between

the increasing complexity of operations and the inadequacies in the current risk-management practices. Amongst individual companies there are reported wide disparities in safety performance and attitudes. Moreover, the incidents have highlighted the challenges that regulators face in ensuring adequate oversight of offshore activities, and a lack of transparency and data sharing regarding the safety performance of the offshore industry,” says the document ‘Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on safety of offshore oil and gas prospection, exploration and production activities’, which was published on 27 October. In Europe, most oil and gas is

produced offshore. A major accident at any one of Europe’s offshore installations is likely to entail material losses, damage to the environment, the economy, local communities and society, while the lives and health of workers may be put at risk. So the likelihood of a major accident in Union waters needs to be reduced, says the EU. Studies, stakeholder consultations and risk analyses conducted since 2010 have identified the main problems for the Union as: the risk of a major offshore oil


he EU has proposed new rules to govern health and safety offshore. According to the organisation, the need for such rules is being driven

or gas accident occurring in Union waters is significant and the existing fragmented legislation and diverse regulatory and industry practices do not provide for all achievable reductions in the risks throughout the Union; and the existing regulatory framework and operating arrangements do not provide for the most effective emergency response to accidents wherever they occur in Union waters, and the liabilities for clean-up and conventional damages are not fully clear. So the two general objectives of this

proposal are to reduce the risks of a major accident in Union waters, and to limit the consequences should such an accident nonetheless occur. However, the proposal adds that experience shows that robust regulation and clear liability are needed to bring about the culture change in industry that will deliver the reduction in risk this regulation intends to achieve. So the two general objectives are developed into four specific objectives:

● Ensure a consistent use of best practices for major hazards control by oil and gas industry offshore operations potentially affecting Union waters or shores.

● Implement best regulatory practices in all European jurisdictions with offshore oil and gas activities.

● Strengthen the Union’s preparedness and response capacity to deal with emergencies potentially affecting Union citizens, economy or environment. and

● Improve and clarify existing Union liability and compensation provisions.

While the 56-page document goes on to outline in greater detail the EU’s thinking, organisations that offer offshore training are gearing up for extra business. For example, in the UK, Falck Nutec has launched a brand new £550 000 industrial training facility extension at

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