Offshore industry regulator performance

Australia’s National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) has released a report of its own OHS performance based on data from 2005 to 2007.  NOPSA has been in the public eye far more than normal due to the Varanus Island explosion and the various investigatory reports.

The report seems to indicate that, as a regulator, NOPSA is performing to expectations.  NOPSA’s CEO John Clegg has acknowledged that the  industry is below the level of its overseas counterparts.  This is peculiar given that other Australian resources industries, like mining, are ahead of other countries and that safety in the offshore industry has had a high profile ever since Piper Alpha.

The report identifies challenges that are difficult but not very surprising:

  • improving leadership – strong leadership is required for the Australian industry to move to the next level
  • dealing with a shortage of skilled personnel
  • managing ageing facilities and minimising gas releases

It will be very interesting to watch the benchmarking of NOPSA and its future role through the OHS harmonisation process that Australia is undergoing.

Below is the full report and the performance summary.

Kevin Jones

NOPSA 2007-08 cover

   NOPSA summary 2007-08

2 thoughts on “Offshore industry regulator performance”

  1. Grant

    I would agree that the advice from HSRs is often not given the appropriate attention. I also sympathise that in many industries being an HSR is not a guarantee for career progression, to be polite.

    I haven\’t seen any indication of the approach to hazard assessment in the planning phases but it would surprise me if offshore facilities did not already follow the major hazard/safety case regimes of many high risk organisations.

    Given that the level of offshore resource development is not diminishing in Western Australia, I would think that you will have some good opportuninties presenting themselves.

    Thanks for contributing.

  2. Hi to all

    Some of the staff in the WA office at NOPSA might recall me.

    Over the past couple of years on 2 different projects i have noticed that Nopsa have been very pro active in wanting to help those individuals on board offshore construction vessels. Once a case study has been presented to Nopsa from a contracting body about to start pipeline production, that seems to be about it when it comes to assisting with what happens under that case study.

    I\’ll explain myself better. I\’ve been helped by 3 individuals from Nopsa which has helped me in doing the right thing in regards to guidelines and procedures as an active HSR on board various vessels on the NWS. This has also helped me understand legislation and the right way on how to represent my employer & employees.

    When it comes to Safety everyone has the same committment and understanding that we want an incident free work place and this can be achieved if companies listen to the employees doing the pacific job tasks set out by ther employer. To date it has been very good and i must say that client reps, superintendents, captains and other office personnel have acted and put in place exellent guidelines for new employees to speak up on safety. This not helps them but the industry as a whole.

    At times we see safety reps being the major spokes person for all on board when it comes to safety concerns from the men. This can be very challenging for an individual as in my case i now find it hard to get work because i took on the role as safety spokesman. My feedback from Nopsa was exellent but still certain people always point the finger at the HSR, remember the HSR speaks on behalf of the people on what they want to put in place for safety concerns only.

    The safety culture on gas pipelines seem to be the same on every project. Wrong PPE, JSA\’s not in place, wrong tools for the job task, insufficient dust or fume extraction……etc

    It would be great to have a body of men, maybe 2-3 men to go on board the contracting vessel to assess everything under what Nopsa doesn\’t cover when they go and check out case studies for future project. These 2-3 men would have industry knowledge in rigging & welding capabilities and spend a few days on board working together as a team with the safety advisor checking out certain applications before any employee is to begin production on board.

    By doing this we can put things in place that seem to be always missing on start up of a major project, we can eliminate potential hazards that come up on previous projects and we can have the correct tools, ppe & venting in place before the employees come on board.

    This will cut costs due to not having so much down time at the beginning of a contract as we always to have the same problems project after project. By having the right tools,ppe & ventilation in place before employees come on board will only make the project run more efficient. This will in turn cut production costs and increase productivity without stepping on any safety guidelines or work place practices.

    It\’s a win win situation for all. This is purely an observation by one individual thats been working in the offshore industry for 10 years. I\’ve done two 5 day Nopsa training courses to date and they are great and would like to further my career within this field.



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