Figures from a 2017 study on trends in risk level in the petroleum activity show progress for a number of risk indicators. But serious personal injuries are growing, while feedback on the working environment, the HSE climate and perceived risk is moving in the wrong direction.
“The results show a positive trend for the major accident risk indicator, with fewer incidents and a reduced potential,” said Anne Myhrvold, director-general of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA), which produced the study.
“On the other hand, we now see an increase in the number of serious personal injuries on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS). Employees also have a more negative view than before of several conditions related to managing health, safety, and the environment (HSE) and to the working environment.
“The industry must ensure that the good progress made in reducing the major accident risk continues. At the same time, it’s important to get to grips with the developments which now point in a negative direction.”
The study's findings reveal positive trends on major accident indicators such as hydrocarbon leaks plus well-control and construction incidents on the NCS. Incidents with a major accident potential are also in decline at the land-based plants.
Overall, incidents were at the lowest level since measurements began. The potential of those which did occur was lower than in previous years. This also helped to ensure that the total indicator for major accidents on the NCS again moved in the right direction.
“In 2015 and 2016, we saw an increase in the major accident indicator compared with previous years,” Myhrvold said. “That gave grounds for concern—and was part of the reason why we adopted ‘reversing the trend’ as our main issue for 2017. ...
“At the same time, we know that historical information has limited value with regard to the risk picture. It’s therefore important that the parties pay continuous attention to good safety work.
“Reducing the major accident risk won’t just happen. It’s now important that good results don’t become a cushion but that the industry continues its systematic efforts to improve major accident risk.”
A single fatal accident was experienced in the PSA’s area of responsibility during 2017. This occurred on 7 December during a maintenance operation on the Maersk Interceptor drilling rig.
The lifting gear failed while positioning a seawater pump, one person fell to the sea and died while another was injured by scaffolding. Both the companies involved and the PSA have investigated this event.
“It was a tragic accident, and getting to the bottom of the causes and learning from what had happened are important,” Myhrvold said.
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