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    HSC to replace Offshore Safety Case Regulations

    News // June 25, 2004
    The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) in the UK has published a consultationdocument on proposals to replace the Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations 1992. The Regulations remain the cornerstone of the offshore health and safety regime and have been successful in helping control major hazard risks.

    Although the original rationale for the Regulations remains valid, HSC believes they now need updating to meet the circumstances of a mature regime and industry. HSC proposes improvement to the regulation and control of major hazards offshore by strengthening the safety case regime.

    Specifically the document details proposals for:

    * replacing three-yearly safety case resubmissions with five-yearlythorough reviews;

    * new duties for licensees to take safety into account whenappointing an operator;

    * replacing some safety cases with notifications, removing someexisting safety case particulars and making some others betterfocused;

    * replacing the requirement to demonstrate major accident risks are'as low as is reasonably practicable' with a demonstration that suchrisks are identified and relevant statutory provisions are compliedwith;

    * introducing a new fallback power directing the duty holder torevise a safety case;

    * introducing a statutory right of appeal against regulatorydecisions to the Secretary of State; and

    * general updating throughout and consequential amendments to relatedregulations.

    The opportunity would also be taken to propose a small amendment to the Offshore Installations (Prevention of Fire & Explosion, and Emergency Response) Regulations 1995 (PFEER) to clarify that rescue and recovery arrangements should always include external parties, such as coastguard and helicopter support.

    The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) sought views on what improvements offshore stakeholders might like to see at a major conference in 2003. These views have been taken into account in producing the consultation document.

    The consultation will also help to take forward the commitment in the HSC's new Strategy for 2010 and beyond to review its safety case regimes to ensure that they remain relevant and proportionate to the changing nature of industry.

    The 1992 Regulations came into effect in 1993 and require operators and owners of offshore installations to submit safety cases to HSE for acceptance as a condition of operating in UK waters.

    Copies of "Proposals to replace the Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations 1992" CD198 are available free from: HSE Books, PO Book 1999,Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2WA. Tel: 01781-881165; Fax: 01787-313995. Copies can also be accessed via HSE's website at www.hse.gov.uk/consult/live.htm.

    Comments on the proposals should be sent to: Tricia Lee, Offshore Policy, HSE5SW Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, London, SE1 9HS. Email: tricia.lee@hse.gsi.gov.uk.

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