Page 18: of Marine News Magazine (August 2013)

Salvage & Response

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LEGALCOLUMNIt has been over three years since the tragic accident occurred aboard the Deepwater Horizon on April 20, 2010. The industry and the relevant federal agencies have done much to put in place improved safeguards to prevent such an accident ? which left 11 dead and 17 injured ? from happening again. Congress, on the other hand, has done little to inter-vene to force new requirements on either the federal gov- ernment or industry. Meanwhile, energy-related work in the Gulf of Mexico is rapidly increasing and forecasts are that it will remain busy for the next few years. The follow- ing is a summary and assessment of recent initiatives being implemented by industry and the government. PREVIOUS INITIATIVES Following the Deepwater Horizon incident, the fore- runner agency to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE?), published an Interim Final Rule (IFR?) titled Increased Safety Measures for Energy De- velopment on the Outer Continental Shelf? on October 14, 2010. BSEE published Notice to Lessees (NTL?) No. 2012-N-06 titled Guidance to Owners and Operators of Offshore Facilities Seaward of the Coast Line Concerning Regional OSRPs? on August 10, 2012. The NTL is in- tended to provide clari? cation, guidance, and information concerning the preparation and submittal of a regional OSRP for owners and operators of oil handling, storage, or transportation facilities, including pipelines, located seaward of the coast line. In addition, on October 15, 2010, BSEE published its Workplace Safety Rule on Safety and Environmental Man- agement Systems, commonly referred to as the SEMS rule. The purpose of this rule was to establish a comprehen- sive management program for identifying, addressing, and managing operational safety hazards and impacts. This rule became effective on November 15, 2011 and audits have to be completed by November 15, 2013. BSEE published Interim Policy Document (IPD?) No. 12-07 titled Incidents of Non-Compliance (INC) to Contractors? on August 15, 2012. IPD 12-07 formally sets forth BSEEs intention to issue INCs to contractors for serious violations of BSEE regulations. Finally, BSEE published its Final Rule titled Increased Safety Measures for Energy Development on the OCS? on August 22, 2012. The Final Rule becomes effective on October 22, 2012. In short, it amends drilling, well completion, well workover, and decommissioning regulations related to well control. 2013 INITIATIVES BSEE and the Coast Guard have continued this trend in 2013 as new requirements are coming fast and furious. Speci? cally, on April 5, 2013 BSEE published its revised regulations for Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS II?). Among other things, SEMS II re- quires operators to (1) create procedures giving all person- nel stop work authority, (2) establish who has the ultimate work authority on the facility for operational safety and decision-making, (3) promote the participation by em- ployees and management in the mitigation or elimination of hazards, and (4) empower all personnel to report safety or environmental violations. In addition, it requires third party audits and new requirements for Job Safety Analysis prior to commencing work. Operators must comply with these new requirements by June 4, 2014. In addition, on April 30, 2015 a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between BSEE and the Coast Guard went into effect for the purpose of closely coordi- nating responsibilities for regulation and enforcement on the outer continental shelf and for the establishment of fu-ture focused agreements. Furthermore, on May 10, 2013 BSEE formally announced its Final Statement of Policy on Safety Culture. Speci? cally, under this policy, BSEE de? ned nine characteristics that are indicative of a robust safety culture. The purpose of the policy statement is to as- sist the offshore oil and gas industry to go beyond a check- list-inspection approach and to move toward a systemic, comprehensive approach to compliance. ASSESSMENT OF PROGRESS Two reports were recently published analyzing the prog- ress of industry, the government, and Congress to improve safety offshore since the Deepwater Horizon incident. The Democratic staff of the House Natural Resources Com- mittee analyzed data comparing pre-Deepwater Horizon and post-Deepwater Horizon accidents, inspections, vio- Is it Safer to Work Offshore in 2013? By Jon Waldron 18 MNAugust 2013MN August2013 Layout 18-31.indd 187/23/2013 7:14:57 PM

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