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New offshore safety case regulations laid before parliament

HSE InfoLine : 18 November, 2005  (Company News)
New regulations to replace the Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations 1992 have been laid before Parliament. The Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations 2005 will become law on 6 April 2006.
The 2005 Regulations reflect the experience and changes in the offshore oil and gas industry since 1993. They will cut bureaucracy for industry and allow Health and Safety Executive inspectors to carry out more offshore visits.

Commenting on the new regulations being laid before Parliament, Taf Powell, head of HSE's Offshore Division, said: 'The Safety Case Regulations are the foundation of a safe and sustainable UKCS and the new regulations will ensure that the safety case regime remains relevant and proportionate to the changing nature of the offshore industry. The industry, including workforce representatives, has played a valuable role in the development of the regulations. HSE believes that the regulations will provide real benefits in terms of reduced bureaucracy, enabling us to increase offshore inspection visits, and extend the role of safety representatives. Guidance on the regulations will be available on the HSE website in the new year and I would urge duty holders to engage with the new requirements early.'

Key changes that will be introduced by the 2005 Regulations include:

The requirement for duty holders to send an early design notification, instead of a design safety case, to HSE when establishing a new production installation;
Duty holders will be required to carry out a thorough review of their safety case at least every five years or as directed by HSE. This five-year review replaces the present requirement to re-submit safety cases every three years;
New duties require licensees to ensure anyone they appoint as an operator is capable of carrying out their legal responsibilities for safety;
Combined operations safety cases will be replaced by notifications, which do not need HSE acceptance;

A statutory right of appeal to the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions against a HSE decision not to accept a safety case will be introduced; and The Offshore Installations (Safety Representatives and Safety Committees) Regulations will be amended to extend consultation with safety representatives to reviewing and revising a safety case, as well as preparing one.
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