Rig safety needs unified national approach: SA Govt

A SOUTH Australian Government review into onshore rig safety has identified an “urgent” need for the nation’s petroleum industry to adopt a uniform assessment and auditing process, according to SA Department of Primary Industries and Resources manager of engineering regulation Michael Malavazos.
Rig safety needs unified national approach: SA Govt Rig safety needs unified national approach: SA Govt Rig safety needs unified national approach: SA Govt Rig safety needs unified national approach: SA Govt Rig safety needs unified national approach: SA Govt

Speaking at the 2006 National Oil & Gas Safety conference in Perth yesterday, Malavazos said following consultation with departments from other states and juridictions, a legislative proposal would be released to the industry next month and feedback will be sought through workshops and submissions.

He said this issue paper would make recommendations to industry regulators on establishing a consolidated set of guidelines.

The department’s Fitness for Purpose Rig Review, which took place late last year, focused on management systems and the physical condition of rigs, such as well control, lifting and hoisting, electrical systems, and utilities.

“In order to achieve consistency in the auditing process, our review found that there was an urgent need to develop a tool or framework that would assess capability and the motivation or willingness of companies to achieve HSE (health, safety and environment) compliance,” Malavazos said.

“What we’re proposing is that the regulator focuses on performance outcomes, which allows operators to be responsible for all risks and changes. Currently, regulation comes from a command or control, or approve and inspect, perspective.”

But the real challenge lies in developing a framework able to assess HSE compliance, according to Malavazos.

“In other words: how does one demonstrate ‘capacity’ and ‘motivation or willingness’ to achieve this?” he said.

Demonstrating HSE capacity contains “more tangible” and quantifiable elements, such as risk registers, procedures, training registers and equipment certifications, and are therefore easier to enforce, Malavazos said.

But it is more difficult for the department to find a tool to measure “willingness or motivation to comply”, he said.

“This is the missing link and will be our future challenge,” he said.

“The regulators can’t do this on its own and will probably need industry’s help to self-assess.”

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