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TRANSCRIPT OF THE 3RD OPEN

SESSION OF THE OFFSHORE


INDUSTRY ADVISORY COMMITTEE

HELD ON 16 OCTOBER 2002 AT THE


LEGENDS LOUNGE, PITTODRIE
STADIUM, ABERDEEN.

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Introduction Stewart Campbell (HSE, Director for Scotland)

Welcome and thanks very much for coming along to the third open session of the Offshore
Industry Advisory Committee (OIAC).

Im Stewart Campbell the Health and Safety Executives Director for Scotland, I have no
actual management responsibility for offshore matters, but when devolution happened a few
years ago it was decided that the very disparate parts of HSE that were represented in
Scotland needed a central focus (particularly for open occasions like this), and the role of
Director was created to provide that central focus. I am however, surrounded by people who
know everything there is to know about offshore matters so I hope Im quite safe in that
respect.

I am very pleased to act as the host for this affair, my predecessor (Allan Sefton) was very
well known in the offshore world, and he chaired the first of the OIAC open meetings in
Aberdeen two years ago. Allan has now moved from sorting out the responsibilities of
offshore safety to trying to sort out the railways of Britain and I leave it to your own
imagination to work out what might be the biggest challenge.

The last time I was at Pittodrie was about four years ago for a Dons-Hibbs game in January
on a perishing cold day. Hibbs scored after 18 minutes and the Dons equalised after what
appeared to be about 128 minutes and it was a game of intense boredom. But Im very
hopeful and optimistic that tonights event will be an awful lot warmer and an awful lot more
interesting than that experience.

Could I firstly introduce the others on this table tonight? On my immediate right is Bob Kyle
who is the Assistant Director for Health and Safety for the United Kingdom Offshore
Operators Association (UKOOA) and a member of OIAC, on my immediate left is David
Bainbridge who is the Operations Manager for Offshore Division of the Health and Safety
Executive (HSE) and on Davids left Roger Jeary who is the National Secretary
(Manufacturing) for the Amicus (MSF branch) trade union and also an OIAC member; and
finally, on Rogers left, is Graham Collins who is the Secretary of OIAC. In introducing them I
should also like to apologise for the absence of Nick Starling (OIACs Chair). Nick has been
detained in London unfortunately but there are a number of other OIAC members present in
the audience as well as other people from HSE who will be able, I hope, to represent anything
that Nick perhaps should have been able to say.

Tonights session is part of the Health and Safety Commissions (HSC) initiative to encourage
more openness and public participation in its work to improve health and safety standards
offshore. Well set the scene with a short presentation from Graham in his role as Secretary
of OIAC. Graham will speak about the HSC, about OIAC itself and some of the key topics its
been looking at for the past eighteen months or so. Many of you will be familiar with this but
others may not know how the Commission works and I hope youll find Grahams
presentation useful. The little information leaflets on your chairs contain a summary of the
presentation. Feel free to take this with you, there are also a number of other pieces of HSE
relevant literature at the back of the room and the more of that that you take home with you,
the less there will be for us to take back with us. The main part of tonights event, however, is
the open forum where our expert panel will be happy to answer questions about any aspects
of offshore health and safety, which may concern you.

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Question and Answer Session

One of the coincidences of this particular meeting is that it comes during the European Week
of Health and Safety, which being European actually lasts a bit longer than a week, but the
theme for this European Week is Stress and thats another more specific area, that I know
has been of interest offshore as well. We aim to finish this meeting by 7.30pm, so weve got
just over an hour or so to have the open forum in. You should be aware that were recording
tonights session. The record of tonights discussion will be available on HSEs website
although it will be anonymised (copies of the transcripts of previous open sessions can be
obtained from the OIAC secretariat).

Question 1 - OIACs terms of reference contain the phrase increasing worker involvement
with health and safety matters. Now weve just had a case recently where a catering worker
was not required back (NRBd) because he raised a safety question. How can you involve
the workforce if theyre going to be sacked, how can you do it? Would the trade unions like to
respond?

Response: Roger Jeary (Amicus, MSF) - Youre quite right, this is something which Trade
Unions have been complaining about for some considerable time, the fact that very often
members of the workforce who seek to raise health and safety matters are effectively, from
our point of view, discriminated against for that purpose. Clearly we seek to have those
issues addressed through the proper Trade Union channels where those people are
members of the Trade Union and we seek to have the matter dealt with in that fashion.
Clearly the message has to get back to the employers and its the issue which Graham (in his
presentation) referred to as the safety culture. But it matters not what legislation you have, it
matters not what guidance and advice you have, if the parties, and by that we all have a
responsibility in this matter, but if all the parties dont accept their responsibility in regard to
safety and adopting a firm safety culture, then none of the legislation, none of the guidance,
none of the work that is done (and an awful lot of good work is done) will be successful. So
from our point of view we abhor the situation where individuals are treated in a discriminatory
fashion simply because they seek to do what OIAC and the other bodies that youve heard
referred to advocate that we do, and that is put safety on the top of the agenda and use every
opportunity to draw to the employers notice issues which they genuinely believe are
endangering the health and safety of people working offshore. Its outside the remit of OIAC
in itself to deal with these individual cases but there have been occasions when weve been
able to raise the issue in general terms just to hammer home the point yet again, that they
have to be dealt with through the proper Trade Union channels in the end.

Response: Bob Kyle (UKOOA) - I would fully endorse everything said. We would certainly
not wish to endorse the concept of anybody being NRBd for raising a safety issue offshore.
We fully support the Safety Committee and representative system, thats the mechanism for
safety concerns, one of the mechanisms should I say. The normal mechanism is through line
supervision through to management. If thats not satisfactory then theres the Safety
Committee system. There will also be the mechanism to raise concerns through the HSE
hotline, and its sad that those systems in this particular case seem to have failed, so we
would need to go back and look at why have these existing processes failed that has led to
this case. I dont know whether it was an NRB or not without knowing the facts but certainly
we would have nothing to do with the principle.

Question 2 - Offshore weve got the Offshore Industry Liaison Forum (OILC), which is
unrecognised, and yet understood to be the union which really is concerned about safety
offshore. Why is it not recognised? What is the attitude of the HSE/OIAC towards the OILC?

Response: Roger Jeary (Amicus, MSF) - Im sure you are fully aware of the history of the
OILC and how it came about, and there is nothing I think that the trade union movement
would like more than to see all the Trade Unions working together. We do have relationships
with OILC, and individual unions have relationships with them. We share information with

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them to a degree and we do try and work with them wherever its possible. The matter of
affiliation/recognition as far as the TUC is concerned is a matter for the TUC and I certainly
dont represent the TUC here tonight in that sense. I think its not entirely true to say that the
OILC is the leading force in the trade union movement for safety offshore, in fact I would have
to say that my own union Amicus and the other unions, have been equally vociferous in
seeking to promote and ensure better safety conditions offshore for all our members, and
indeed for anybody that works offshore (including non-members). So I dont accept that OILC
is the sole flag waver for safety offshore and Im sure OILC wouldnt want to pretend that they
were either.

Response: Larry Cairns (TUC) - I think everybodys aware of the kind of constitutional
difficulties there are, but I would think that the TUC would wish to see the situation in some
way regularised whenever its possible. I know, despite what we may say, several unions
have courted or looked for some sort of formalised relationship with OILC. I would share the
view that it would strengthen things if we were all together, but there difficulties that prevent
the thing from coming together.

Response: David Bainbridge (HSE, Offshore Division) - Trade Union recognition of course
isnt a matter for HSE and as far as we are concerned in the Offshore Division of HSE we
recognise OILC as a valid trade union representative, as part of the offshore unions and we
deal equally with OILC as we do with the other unions that represent people who work
offshore. We have liaison meetings with all the trade unions and theyre equally valid as far
as we are concerned.

Question 3 - Im interested to know more about the situation whereby the development of the
law is not a devolved matter its still a matter for the UK Parliament but the administration of
the law, particularly offshore in the Scottish sector, is a devolved issue. That apparent
anomalous situation, or potentially anomalous situation, no doubt underpins the reason for
the creation of the post of HSE Director for Scotland. Could you give us some guidance on
this?

Response: Stewart Campbell (HSE, Director for Scotland) - I can attempt to. As far as
HSE is concerned nothing is devolved in that sense and the sense that youre using it. The
development of the law and the appliance of the law are not devolved, although the
enforcement of the law is reserved. The prosecution of crime in Scotland is a devolved
matter, and always has been, but the prosecution of crime in Scotland covers all sectors, not
just health and safety.

Question 4 - We saw last night in a BBC Frontline Scotland documentary, the fact that there
are now different standards of enforcement in terms of prosecution now emerging and
evolving between practices in England and practices in Scotland. Does this not follow that
the way offshore safety is enforced in the English sector will somewhat diverge from evolving
practice in Scotland?

Response: Stewart Campbell (HSE, Director for Scotland) - As far as the HSE is
concerned (and the HSC), our application of the law and our enforcement of the law is
identical north and south of the border. We work to the HSCs enforcement policy, which is a
recently revised published document. It is available to everyone and Inspectors in whatever
sector of employment apply that guidance both north and south of the border. The
prosecution of crime in Scotland, as Ive said, is a matter for the Procurator Fiscal and the
Crown office and that is something about which we cant comment.

Question 5 - One of the prime enforcement mechanisms/tools at your disposal is


prosecution, and in England you prosecute in your own right, in Scotland you do not. In
Scotland there is now quite a distinct divergence from the rate of prosecution than there is in
England. This must surely impact on you as an enforcing authority?

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Response: Stewart Campbell (HSE, Director for Scotland) - Prosecution is one of the
methods of enforcement. However, If you want to talk about the figures and the detail that
was quoted last night on the BBC then I would be happy to talk about that outside the
meeting, its not really an offshore matter and what there were of figures quoted last night
(which wasnt very much), HSE has challenged and HSE will continue to challenge. The
Centre for Corporate Accountability (CCA) has had a lot of discussions with HSE about these
issues and weve provided a lot of information to the CCA. We have questioned the way in
which they have chosen to use and interpret some of the statistics, but this is a matter with
which weve been in dialogue with them for quite a while now and will no doubt continue to be
in dialogue with them. The figures for the level of prosecution in Scotland after accidents or in
relation to proactive inspections is different from England and Wales, but its not that different.
The Crown Office spokesman said last night, there are different criteria in Scotland, the fact
that we have to prove corroboration in a lot of cases may be a factor but it may not be a very
great factor. There are a whole lot of general issues here which Id be happy to debate with
you but I dont think theyre essential to OIACs interests.

Question 6 - Im the General Manager of a company just starting up in the UK again, with
over thirty years experience in the Norwegian sector. My question is how do the HSC/E
guarantee the transfer of experience between the parties from other countries? I notice that
one of the areas you focused on was rig mechanisation. Norway has long had a focus from
the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) on remote pipe handling, and this has been a big
issue over in Norway for some time (because it has affected safety and efficiency). I
wondered how you ensure transfer of experience between different countries?

Response: Graham Collins: (HSE, Safety Policy Directorate) - First of all, of course, the
Commission cant guarantee that information and experience is spread, but it certainly puts a
great deal of effort into ensuring that as much experience and information is available as
possible, and that its learnt from. In particular, we do have long-standing and very deep and
effective liaison arrangements with our Norwegian colleagues on the offshore side, and I think
have a good mutual understanding of each others systems and develop a great deal of
benefit from those contacts, although the experience of one sector cannot be immediately
assimilated into another. You have to understand the historical and social background to that
experience, and if that differs then clearly it is a matter of trying to translate what you learn
from that experience into the circumstances of the other sector. We certainly have no doubt
that we have a lot to learn from colleagues in other sectors, in other provinces and from the
technical knowledge that the other regulators have developed in their own sectors, its
something that we put a great deal of effort into. The specific issue of rig mechanisation has
often been said to be another example of where the Norwegians do it better than we do. I
think you could probably pick up any number of subjects and say that phrase has been
applied to it. The Norwegians sometimes say to us that the opposite is said in Norway, but
the Norwegian experience in rig mechanisation is certainly being looked at by HSE.

Response: David Bainbridge (HSE, Offshore Division) - Both Graham and I are part of the
UK delegation that meets the Norwegian regulator twice a year on a formal basis for sharing
information. In addition to that, I am also a member of a sub-group of the North Sea Offshore
Authorities Forum (NOSOAF) which comprises the regulators for the whole of the North Sea
(UK, Norway, Denmark, Holland and Germany), and again in a sub-committee that looks at
mobile offshore drilling units in particular. We meet in that working group twice a year, so
theres a considerable exchange of detailed information. In addition to that, I have teams that
work for me who are specialists in well operations and they once a year have a meeting with
their Norwegian colleagues to share specific information on well operations, drilling activities
and the equipment thats used for that purpose. On the bigger front, there is a meeting of the
International Regulators Forum where the regulators from Norway, UK, Brazil through
Canada, USA, Australia meet on an annual basis so again, as far as the regulators are
concerned, theres effective sharing through that Forum.

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Response: Bob Kyle (UKOOA) - We meet our opposite numbers at the Trade Associations
in Norway, primarily the Norwegian Oil Industry Association. We also have exchange with the
regulator in Norway and the HSE so we do meet regularly. We had a meeting this past week
with our counterparts in Norway so theres a lot of exchange of information going on. We also
have an organisation called the Oil and Gas Producers which is the international equivalent
Trade Association for the oil and gas industry and I attend meetings twice a year on safety
issues specifically but that group deals with a whole broad range of issues.

Response: Roger Jeary (Amicus, MSF) - Only to say that Trade Unions equally have a
body, the European Safety Forum, which encompasses the offshore industry in the North
Sea, again its a mechanism for the exchange of information. I suppose we view it very much
from the point of view, as Graham said, as what comes out of Norway always appears to be
better than what we have. Particularly some of the working conditions, but also obviously the
mechanisation issue which the trade unions have been raising considerably over a number of
years now to see some improvements. And, as Graham has pointed out, it is one of the
issues which OIAC itself is now engaged in looking at and will be looking at over its next
meeting or two. So I think we can learn from other nations obviously and we can also give,
its not one-way traffic all the time; but certainly its important that we do meet regularly with
colleagues from other States that have an interest in this and that we learn from their
experiences, good and bad.

Question 7 On the subject of rig mechanisation, can the panel or the committee enlighten
us as to what the position currently is, and maybe a projection on where we see this issue
going (if indeed its going anywhere). I base that on Taf Powells comments in a journal
recently where his view expressed was that there is no need for mechanisation as it only
creates further hazards and we dont propose to adopt the Norwegian model, perhaps Taf
was speaking as an OSD official as opposed to an OIAC official so Id like to hear OIACs
views on exactly where we are.

Response: David Bainbridge (HSE Offshore Division) - I wonder actually if Taf has been
either accurately or wholly reported on what he said. I think we need to clarify some things,
certainly OSD is not against mechanisation, thats the first and Ill explain why as I go on.
There is a fundamental difference between automation and mechanisation and I suspect in
the minds of some there is confusion between mechanisation and automation. Automation
can feature/does feature on some very new drilling units, but its not something which would
be readily applicable to existing operations. As far as mechanisation is concerned, there is
not a total absence of mechanisation in the UK sector. There is varied application of
mechanisation and when were talking about mechanisation Im talking about issues from the
application of top drive, iron rough necks, power slips and pipe handling equipment both from
the pipe deck up to the drill floor and actually on the drill floor. Now there is a range of
application on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS), there is much more application
of mechanisation on the semi-submersibles than in other drilling applications so its not a
black and white situation, its not an either or, and its not a case of we are where we are and
were not prepared to move any further. What we must do obviously is work within the
practical limits of the application of further mechanisation and I think this is the issue, its the
extent to which further mechanisation could and should be applied on the UKCS. We have
done a couple of very important things, one is to look at the accident rates which tells us what
has happened in the past, but not necessarily what is likely to happen in the future. So from
that point of view weve also done some research in terms of whats the practicality, what can
be done. The other side of the coin from practicality is the legislation and what we cant do is
require an application across the board if the law doesnt allow us to do that. The law is a
goal-setting regime in the UK yes, but what does that mean? It means that theres got to be
proper identification of the risks, a proper identification of possible solutions to those risks and
an application of those solutions which is possible within the legal definition of reasonable
practicability and thats the law in the UK and we cannot require people to go beyond that.
We may encourage and recommend and indeed, flowing from some of our work, we have
worked with and we are liasing with committees set up in the drilling sector who are also

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looking at what more could be done. It may be through this forum we can actually
recommend more than we can require in law, but there are some specific legal requirements.
One is the Manual Handling Regulations, where there must be a proper assessment of what
can be avoided in terms of manual handling, and if there are reasonably practicable
precautions that can be applied then they should be applied. If they are not reasonably
practicable then theres a requirement to look and see what else can be done to reduce those
risks. All of us in the offshore sector have got to go through this process of identification of
what the risks are, what the potential solutions are, and what can be done to satisfy the law.
There may be in some areas for example where there are not power slips at the moment,
where that may be a reasonably practicable precaution. This is something that the industry
must look at, we believe, and thats the position that our Inspectors will also be looking at and
challenging during their inspections. So were starting from a position where there is
considerable mechanisation already, its not one hundred per cent and perhaps its not at the
same level as has been applied in Norway, but we are looking at that position. We have an
inspection and an enforcement practice which is looking at these issues and seeing where
this can be taken forward and we will be looking at the possibilities for further improvements.
But its not as simple as saying there must be rig mechanisation across all drilling installations
because there will be some where its possible to do much more because of the design of the
installations, and there will be others where its not reasonably practicable to do as much as,
say, on a brand new or nearly new semi-submersible rig.

Response: Bob Kyle (UKOOA) - I think Davids probably said most of what can be said, but
I think it is right to say the industry is not against mechanisation, and as David pointed out
theres a whole spectrum of mechanisation already in the industry. There are some practical
problems associated with old installations/fixed installations with regard to space. The other
area we need to be careful about (and looking at the evidence) is that you can shift the risks,
you may not be able to eliminate the hazards so there is a danger in automation that you
actually transfer the risks from the manned machine on a daily basis to maintenance
problems, and the reliability issues of automation so theres some way to go I think before we
can actually resolve some of these issues.

Roger Jeary (Amicus, MSF) - As I said earlier its an issue that the Trade Unions have been
raising on a regular basis, and very much so from our knowledge of the Norwegian
experience. We know that the injuries that occur in the UK sector predominate on the rig floor
and we know that in Norway the occurrence of accidents on the rig floor has diminished
greatly year by year since the introduction of mechanisation. I know there are arguments also
which say that other areas have increased the incidence of accidents in the Norwegian area.
But nevertheless we will continue to argue that as far as the legislation allows, the HSC/E
should seek to encourage where they can to ensure that employers actually accept the
practicalities (where they exist) of actually introducing mechanisation where it can improve
the situation. Obviously health and safety legislation in this country isnt as strong as we
would want it to be anyway, and theres always the loophole of reasonable practicality. Which
on occasions allows employers to find a way out of doing things, which are at the end of the
day, making it safer for people working in this environment. If mechanisation contributes to
the safety of people then it has to be something which we must find every way possible of
ensuring employers implement.

Questioners comment - I find this, as Rogers described it, this loophole of as low as
reasonably practicable (ALARP) somewhat as a catch all, a safety net for almost everything
which is applied in this industry. If we look at Norway again they are adopting, through the
European Economic Area Treaties, all of the legislation, which is applicable across the
European Continental Shelf. So clearly if theyre adopting it and they are seeing that
mechanisation is practicable, I find it difficult to understand how we in the UK sector, across
an imaginary median line, dont find it practicable.

Audience comment - I dont think anybody was arguing against its practicability but I guess
the argument against it is the reasonable practicability. I think there is a cost that comes into

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the equation, which is absolutely disproportionate to any benefit. I think this is the whole
bedrock and strength of the UK Regulations, the concept of ALARP rather than absolute duty.
If my reading of the Revitalising Health and Safety document is correct the health and safety
record for UK is about twice as good as in Europe generally over the whole of the industry.
So my view is we must be doing something right and to change the route back to absolute
prescription, as seems to happen in the EU, is setting the health and safety regulation back
about thirty years.

Audience comment - Not just solely on the mechanisation issue, but I think one thing that
is very difficult for our members to accept offshore, is when we enter into the debate on
mechanisation the word costs always comes into it and thats one that is hard for our
members to accept. Now we want to enter into an open discussion and dialogue on the
benefits of mechanisation, lets put the costs to one side and lets see if it is worthwhile or not.
I really have to say to you its not just mechanisation but other areas where we get hit with the
costs. Its rather thin now and it doesnt work I have to say to you, it doesnt help the debate
at all.

Question 8 - I dont think the questioner is calling for total prescription as a previous
speaker suggested. ALARP surely requires a benchmark, so my question is what are the
prospects of the Norwegian model (bearing in mind the harmonisation that were talking
about) becoming the benchmark for enforcement in regard to ALARP. How long do you
anticipate, if at all, will it be before the Norwegian model will apply?

Response: David Bainbridge (HSE, Offshore Division) - It is a rather complex, technical


and legal issue but I would venture to suggest that actually, the difference between Norway
and UK is not as great as many people would suggest. There are differences in the extent to
which, for example, pipe handling equipments been applied and thats one area that is under
active consideration both by ourselves and by the industry. If it is reasonably practicable and
thats looking at the benefits as well as the costs, and from our point of view only if the costs
are disproportionate to the benefits gained is it not reasonably practicable. So unless its
disproportionate on that basis then our law currently requires improvement.

Question 9 - Have OSD given your Offshore Inspectors specific guidelines to determine
ALARP in the case of rig mechanisation? You do it on some other issues and those
guidelines are pretty good.

Response: David Bainbridge (HSE, Offshore Division) - Yes, the guidelines apply across
all factors, not just on this. The outcomes of the studies that weve been conducting have
certainly involved our wells topic specialists who have been intimately involved in the study of
this subject. That expertise is being transferred and applied by the inspection teams and the
guidance on reasonable practicability is clear and is available to Inspectors.

Response: Stewart Campbell (HSE, Director for Scotland) - Its always seemed to me that
one of the strengths of the UK approach is that it enables and it facilitates prioritisation.
Taking a more absolutist approach, I dont think helps in that respect but the cost and benefit
balance which has been the essence of the UK approach (not just since the Health and
Safety at Work Act came in but for years and years before that), does seem to me to help in
identifying where the priorities for action should be, in a way that often isnt available to our
colleagues on the other sides of different waters.

Question 10 - I was just wondering about your relationship to the industry Step Change
initiative and if theres overlapping responsibility between what OIACs terms of reference are
and those of the Step Change initiative? It seems to me theres a huge amount of overlap
between what OIACs terms of reference are and what Step Change has tried to do.

Response: Vic Coleman (HSE, Safety Policy Directorate) Im Head of the Policy area
covering the offshore industry as distinct from the operational side of the house which David
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Bainbridge is representing. I think that with the development of Step Change and with the
growing profile of Step Change as promoted by PILOT (a very high level Ministerially led
group) its very clear that OIAC does need to consider its role in the future. In fact one of the
things thats very much on the table at the moment is to look at how OIAC needs to position
itself in the light of changes within the industry. Theres no point in my view of committees
duplicating each others work, thats just a waste of everybodys time. Everybody who assists
should have a distinctive contribution to make but exactly how that develops I think is
something that OIAC itself has got to actually put some attention to. Its very much on the
agenda and of course we are still at very early days with the changes to Step Change. Weve
seen a lot of commitment but I think actually weve also got to look at exactly how it pans out
because we dont want to make irredeemable changes I think, against something which were
not entirely sure is going to actually deliver. So I think my view is that yes, the change in the
industry does lead to the need for OIAC (and other structures), to consider its future role.
Because all these have got to be interlocking but not overlapping as far as we can make
them, because I think two different committees trying to do the same thing is actually a
disaster area and weve got to try and avoid that.

Response: Roger Jeary (Amicus, MSF) - Clearly there are changes occurring and that does
cause everybody to look and see what their role (within that changed structure) is. The role
that Step Change has (which at the moment is in its infancy) would seem to be the role of
promoting and developing changes which are necessary to revitalise health and safety in the
offshore area. PILOT, the leadership body at the very highest level has extended its role to
cover health and safety issues as well now. Youve got two levels there, one of which is very
much a strategic level, PILOT, and youve got Step Change which is the implementer if you
like or seeking to implement, it is yet to prove that its doing that, but nevertheless thats its
role. Where does OIAC fit into that? Well I see at the moment OIAC having a very crucial
role, firstly because it is the only real tripartite body involved in this whole area and it does
create that mix which you dont see to the same extent in the other areas. There is trade
union representation but its not quite the same as the OIAC situation. OIAC is the body
which is designed to give advice to the HSC on health and safety offshore, and it seems to
me that for the future it has a very crucial role and that is one very much of scrutiny. Scrutiny
of what Step Change is doing, scrutiny of what steps are being taken to achieve the targets
that are being set, and how theyre likely to be achieved. As well as monitoring those targets
and monitoring the information and data that comes back. Now I think there OIAC has a very
crucial role to play in the future because somebody has to look at what is being done on
behalf of the industry in terms of the health and safety. The HSC/E have the role of ensuring
that health and safety is enforced and brought about. I think OIACs role for the future will be
more a scrutinising role of what steps are being taken and making sure that if we dont feel
that those steps are adequate, or we feel that theres a different angle that needs to be taken
on them that we have an avenue through the Commission (which goes back down to the Step
Change and PILOT and other people) to make sure that they take on board the views of all
parties involved in OIAC. I think you do have to look at how you do things on a regular basis
and advisory committees are open to review every three years anyway. We are reviewing
OIAC at the present time, and we are looking at that future role as a result of that.

Response: Bob Kyle (UKOOA) - I didnt appreciate there was that much overlap because
certainly there are limitations to the scope of the Step Change initiative, which was primarily
set up to try to get some behavioural changes in the industry. So its pretty much focused on
safety behaviour and occupational health and safety issues. The role of OIAC extends
beyond that and includes, for example, major accident hazards (currently not within the scope
of Step Change). It also considers legislation issues, such as policy changes, so there is a
much broader scope currently within OIACs remit than is within Step Changes, which is a
more practical behavioural safety programme aimed at getting buy-in from the various
companies to implement these programmes.

Question 11 - Isnt the hydrocarbon release programme being run under Step Change?

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Response: Bob Kyle (UKOOA) - Its being run under UKOOA as a Technical Committee.

Question 12 - Id just like to share with you, Chair, first of all the first point that was made
earlier on this evening, I think its important that I make you aware of what I think your
question at the front there was in relation to NRB. I have to share with you, whilst perhaps
this isnt the forum for it, the Inter-Union Offshore Oil Committee are in dialogue with the
Employment Practices Committee at UKOOA with a view to taking that issue forward. I share
that with you because I think its part of the answer to the questions I want to get from the
panel. I think everybody in the room fully supports the Step Change initiative, the PILOT
vision, I dont think anybody could disagree with that, in fact we had the opportunity to discuss
it at the DTI Energy Breakfast a couple of weeks ago. But two of the key elements to the
whole scenario in with the presentation that we have there is what were looking for is
improved communication and greater workforce involvement. I would like to just ask the
panel their personal views on how collectively in industry we could go about improving the
communication and how you can bring forward greater workforce involvement and thats why
I shared with you the NRB issue, thats one of them, hopefully we can deal with that, so Id
just like the panels individual views on those issues.

Response: Bob Kyle (UKOOA) - I have personal experience from a previous job in terms of
trying to get workforce involvement, and one of my recommendations has always been to get
the safety representative system working effectively. I sometimes feel that theyre not
working as effectively as they should be and thats the primary mechanism offshore to involve
the workforce. Its a great mechanism and theres very good training available to safety
representatives, so that would be my recommendation as to greater effort really to make the
safety committee system more effective, we also have a mechanism through Step Change, A
network has been set up to involve the workforce, its called the Safety Representative
Network System, and again maybe not as many people are coming forth as should be. Im
not really sure why, theres a lot of information going out but its not necessarily being picked
up.

Response: Roger Jeary (Amicus MSF) - The workforce will become involved when theyre
confident that being involved doesnt result in them being discriminated against. If you want
to involve workers theyve got to be free to say what they want to say and their views may not
be always very popular, but nevertheless workplace involvement really does require
employers to absolutely accept that workers have a right to have a say. Obviously I would
say that its best done through trade unions and through representative bodies such as the
IUOOC, OILC and the TUC (as well as various other bodies that can represent workers
views for them). But if you want to involve workers then youve got to allow them to have their
say and be prepared to accept criticism even though on occasions you find that unpalatable.
So thats one way to ensure you get better workforce involvement. On improved
communication, in all the years that Ive been a union activist and a full-time official Ive yet to
find really effective means of communication. We all pile resources into it but unions do it,
employers do it, organisations do it and yet we all seem to fail somehow along the lines. Id
be a very rich man if I could find out the effective means of communication that gets
messages where you want to get them to. We get them to the people that want to listen and
very often they get inundated with messages. But the people you really want to get the
messages to in the context of health and safety are the workers, and again finding the most
effective means of doing that is something which has eluded us all, not just employers, but it
eludes the trade unions as well by and large. However, we shouldnt give up trying.

Response: Stewart Campbell (HSE, Director for Scotland) - Thats our general experience
as well, that the groups or the individuals that we most need to get messages to are the ones
to whom it is most difficult to get that message. I think we are (slowly perhaps) getting better
at it, at least in certain respects. Im more familiar with what were doing onshore of course
but I do see some changes in that respect and some better awareness growing in a number
of areas. I have to avoid speaking too much with a Scottish hat on tonight and it goes back to
an earlier question originally, although health and safety is a reserved matter, the Scottish

10
Executive has actually taken a lot more interest in health and safety than you might expect.
The Scottish Executive is putting money into health and safety, which is not something I think
that if wed stood back three years ago and tried to look forward we would ever have
anticipated. I do see a much better understanding growing of the need for partnership in a
whole lot of areas, certainly north of the border, and I think thats also reflected in a lot of
whats happening in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.

Response: Vic Coleman (HSE, Safety Policy Directorate) - I wanted to say that we were
hoping somebody from the Scottish Executive could actually be here tonight. In fact they
really wanted to be but they had to send apologies. It wasnt through lack of interest, they just
simply couldnt come, but I think its quite important to reflect that in fact they were interested
and they would have liked to have been here. They want a report back, they want to know
themselves because they are interested in whats happening so I thought that was worth
adding.

Questioners Response - Its just good to hear from everybody that they realise that these
difficulties exist, some people just turn a blind eye to it. Its important that wherever we are,
whatever forum we are, were grown up enough to realise we do have that difficulty and then
lets sit round the table and see how we can take it forward. I agree we are improving but
theres a long way to go.

Question 13 - Im interested in the actual composition of the committee in particular. An


obvious omission on the HSC until recent years was a safety professional, and that person
now exists I believe. As far as the Advisory Committees are concerned, have the HSC
considered appointing a health and safety professional? I know some health and safety
professionals are members, but theyre there to represent their industries or their trade unions
or whatever. Have you considered the appointment of someone from the health and safety
profession constituency to the committee?

Response: Stewart Campbell (HSE, Director for Scotland) - On the HSC question first I
think youre talking about Margaret Burns. Margaret Burns is a lecturer at Aberdeen
University and was nominated by the Scottish Consumers Council, but shes also a lawyer.
She was appointed largely because of her background in the consumer movement, its a part
of the public interest representation. So I think your hope and expectation in that respect
hasnt been answered yet. Are you, Graham, able to say anything about this in relation to,
say, OIAC?

Response: Graham Collins (HSE, Safety Policy Directorate) - Im not absolutely certain
but I think there are some Advisory Committees that do have safety or health professionals
on them, obviously there are one or two committees which are specialist committees and are
very largely constituted of professionals of one sort or another. But as I think you said
yourself most of the industry committees are there very much to reflect the input of members
of the industry that that group is constituted to deal with. Latterly, they have tended to be very
much as the offshore committee currently is, representative of employers and workforce who
may incidentally be safety professionals but thats not their prime function. However, in the
last two or three years I think this committee and other committees have been very much
looking to broaden their membership to try to include anyone who has a significant and useful
contribution to make. Now so far the offshore committee has not been able to find individuals
who whilst they may be qualified to contribute, necessarily have the time and the support to
be able to do so on a reasonably full-time basis. But we are continuing to do that and indeed
I think one of the main issues, as the committee comes up for reconstitution next year, is
exactly who needs to be represented. A whole range of people have been considered but if I
think that we can try to open this out to safety professionals then in principle I think the
committee would very much go along with that. Its still difficult of course to find people who
can actually fit that role and are available to actually do it.

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Response: Bob Kyle (UKOOA) - I wonder whether youre referring to an independent health
and safety adviser or the fact that the industry representations have always included a safety
professional. Weve always endeavoured to have for example the chairman, or the past
chairman, of the UKOOA Safety Committee to be a member of the committee, and we also
have a doctor who serves on the committee who looks after occupational health issues.
Philip Ley, is also a safety professional and has been a member of the Committee for a
number of years.

Question 14 - The only other thing Id like to say is are we going to see an advert in the
papers in the near future for members of OIAC, as we see for some of the other quangos in
the recent past?

Response: Graham Collins (HSE, Safety Policy Directorate) - Its a thought.

Question 15 - You said that you would bring out a proposal to revise the Safety Case
Regulations. If youre going to bring it out before the end of the year you must have some
pretty good idea of where youre going. Whats up for grabs really in the Safety Case
Regulations, what do you want to get rid of, and what are you going to allow us to attack in
them?

Response: Graham Collins (HSE, Safety Policy Directorate) - Could I just say we had a
quite useful workshop back in May, on which amongst other things there was an open
discussion about the future of the Safety Case Regulations. We made the invitation then that
if any of the stakeholders whether they are currently duty holders, whether theyre members
of the unions whoever they are, want to present us with their ideas of how to make these
Regulations better, more effective and less bureaucratic we are only too happy to hear them.
That invitation still stands. If you dont give us your ideas you get ours back so Id turn that
question on its head. We arent developing our own agenda here, what we want to do is to
make sure that those Regulations continue to be the most effective possible and in order to
be effective we must have that feedback from the people who are directly effected by it.

Question 16 - Some people have been asking then for a more readable and understandable
Safety Case? Get rid of qualitative risk assessments, has anybody asked you that one?
Requirement for approval, thats on your list as well, is it?

Response: Graham Collins (HSE, Safety Policy Directorate) - Yes, weve got a long list.

Response: Davis Bainbridge (HSE, Offshore Division) - I was going to say from an
operational point of view you can direct your question to me as well. Yes we definitely have
our views and we will feed them in too but, like Graham, I wouldnt want to bias any of your
views and we equally would value the views of all parties.

Response: Vic Coleman (HSE, Safety Policy Directorate) - Can I just say that there is a
consultation document that is currently available, and its certainly available on our website.
Its looking at the way in which the HSC overall looks at its so-called permission regimes ie
the Safety Case regime and things like nuclear licensing and what thats trying to do, and
were taking comments through to the middle of December 2002. The point of that is its
looking at principles about how these things are operated and what will happen is that the
work looking at the offshore Safety Case regime will be informed by what we get back now on
the principles of applying these regimes. We thought this was probably the best way round, I
think otherwise we would have already embarked upon looking at the offshore regime but,
given we were doing this much more general process looking at overall principles, we thought
that was best to get out the way and everybody has an opportunity to respond to that
document. Now is the time to make comment on the basic principles about how these
regimes should be applied by the regulator; and if you go to our website youll certainly find it,
or contact Graham or myself who can point you in the right direction.

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Audience comment - I thought I understood words, I thought I was able to read a Safety
Case, its completely unreadable, its hopeless, it should be written so that everyone can
understand it, the offshore worker should be able to understand it, they are unreadable.

Question 17 - My question is on the 10% tax hike, the industry is saying that fifty thousand
jobs are going to go. Does this cause HSE any concern about safety if fifty thousand jobs are
going to go. Are we going to see more and more multi-skilling, whats going to happen?

Response: David Bainbridge (HSE, Offshore Division) - Sizing, upsizing or downsizing,


isnt a matter for me to comment on. What is absolutely vital though, is that there are
sufficient people with relevant competences to deliver health and safety. Where thats not the
case well challenge it; and in fact we already this week have taken some fairly vigorous
enforcement action to ensure that that will be the case in one specific issue. But I would say
we have as an example so we are concerned that there are the right people in the right
numbers with the right skills to do the job thats required and to do it safely and, apart from
that, all I can say is we will deal with issues on a case by case basis for thats fundamentally
important.

Response: Stewart Campbell (HSE, Director for Scotland) - This hasnt just been an issue
offshore. Similar issues have been faced onshore as well, for example in the nuclear industry
and in the petrochemical industry onshore and the same sort of thinking that David is talking
about there has been applied in these circumstances as well. Roger, did you want to say
anything in addition to that?

Response: Roger Jeary (Amicus MSF) - I just want to say that again safety is paramount
and if companies are going to reorganise then they reorganise with safety at the top of the
agenda as far as we are concerned as a Trade Union. That means that if there are going to
be changes in structures and less people, more multi-skilling then theyre going to have to
satisfy (and we would expect the Health and Safety Executive to enforce this) everybody that
safety is not being jeopardised as a result of reorganisation, that has to be the number one
priority when you consider reorganisation.

Response: Bob Kyle (UKOOA) - Management of change is an important factor that is part of
a Safety Case and whether its readable or not, it has to be taken into account so Ill leave it
at that.

Question 18 - You talk about safety but youve got two Stress pamphlets over there and the
more multi-skilled work you put on some people everybody is going to say yeah I can
manage, I can manage but youve got to be able to look to assess when somebodys at
breaking point to run away then. I mean you may be able to manage everything in a safe and
competent manner, but when it comes to being stressed out youve got to look at the other
factors there; thats not forsaking safety, youre talking health as well arent you?

Response: Roger Jeary (Amicus MSF) - I couldnt agree more. Risk assessments which
are part of the management of health and safety responsibilities of management, include
assessments on mental health as well as physical health. Quite clearly what we see, not only
in offshore but every other industry we look at, as reorganisation takes place which is another
word for rationalisation which is another word for redundancies, as those take place in all
industries we see the same amount of work being expected to be done by 75% or 50% of the
people that did it previously. That means people taking on greater responsibilities, a wider
range of responsibilities, having more pressures, more targets set upon them and that effects
their ability to cope with the pressures of the job. It also effects their ability to actually
respond in a proper fashion to safety issues; so quite clearly if reorganisation is taking place
then we expect risk assessments to be carried out across the workplace effecting everybody
and looking at, in particular, the effects of stress as a result of it increasing pressures on
individuals.

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Question 19 - So shouldnt the HSE when they come and visit now as Inspectors be looking
at these factors. Also, a lot of companies now are downsizing and were having more and
more on the people who are left. Shouldnt that be a thing that theyre looking into as well?
Its OK for everything to run safe, I mean you know things are running on a regular basis but
just seeing how much people have got to cope with as well, or are you just going to leave that
to goal-setting and when people start to fall over then come in and enforce it?

Response: Stewart Campbell (HSE, Director for Scotland) - Stress is one of the Health
and Safety Commissions two health priorities which are directed towards all of the revitalising
agendas. We are working at the moment to develop a management standard against which
we can test the approach which companies are taking, in order to relate that into the
requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act. I know that the offshore part of HSE has
been very active in this for longer than many of the rest of us. Is that the case, David?

Response: David Bainbridge (HSE, Offshore Division) - Yes. I wouldnt seek to


underestimate the difficulty of doing it, and monitoring the risk assessments that have been
done. But we are absolutely determined to do it and are actively doing it, and thats a vitally
important facet of the work that we do and we are doing it from a proactive and not a reactive
basis.

Question 20 - I was interested to hear as part of the recent revitalising or relaunching of Step
Change that HSE are to become involved in a partnership. But given the accepted and
acknowledged poor uptake or involvement theres been with Step Change from the
workforce, do you foresee any problems as regards HSEs credibility in the eyes of the
workforce if engaging in a partnership or marriage with an initiative concept body (probably
what we should describe Step Change as), as being a problem at all for HSE?

Response: David Bainbridge (HSE, Offshore Division) - I dont see partnership as


mutually exclusive, and I dont see partnership as simply involving two parties. I believe that
partnership at this level to be truly effective and its got to equally involve the workforce so its
not just a question of the HSE being involved with management in partnership to the
exclusion of workforce, its absolutely vital that we get the tripartite link.

Questioners Response - Im not suggesting it is to the exclusion of the workforce but what
Im pointing out is that there has been a very poor (and its been acknowledged and
accepted) involvement of the workforce in Step Change.

Response: David Bainbridge (HSE, Offshore Division) - Well if you want my personal
reaction, it would be to see that that changes. And that would be my personal aspiration for
what is happening at the senior level in this exercise in Step Change. Were beginning
actually to bring that into a truly tripartite way of working, to get the real Step Change is
absolutely vital if we are to move the plateau down.

Response: Bob Kyle (UKOOA) - Im kind of disappointed to hear that your perception is that
by the HSE joining this as somehow theres a loss of credibility in the perception that this is
not a credible. I would think that HSE have got a lot to bring to the table and wed rather be
sitting there with them and getting everybodys ideas and working together on those.

Response: Roger Jeary (Amicus MSF) - I have to concur with that but the proof of the
pudding is going to be in encouraging and getting the workforce to actually participate on an
equal basis. Partnership is about equality and all partners come with an equal remit and an
equal right to be heard and until we get that equality within Step Change then I think it will
flounder.

Response: David Bainbridge (HSE, Offshore Division) - I just want to say in terms of
reputation it is absolutely vital that we continue to be an independent and effective regulator

14
too. So it doesnt mean that we move one iota from our enforcement policy, and as there is
greater openness it is possible that there could be more formal enforcement action.

Question 21 - I just think the workforce may perceive partnership as an inability to remain
independent I think. How do you remain independent within a partnership?

Response: David Bainbridge (HSE, Offshore Division) - Roger is absolutely right the proof
of the pudding is in the eating. I would hope that events like this are an excellent opportunity
to spread the message that we are determined to maintain our reputation as an effective
independent regulator, but that doesnt mean to say that we operate in isolation and where
we can bring something to the party we will.

Response: Stewart Campbell (HSE, Director for Scotland) - I think theres no doubt in my
mind (and this goes across the whole of industry), that theres an awful lot of areas in which
we havent managed to make progress in the past. HSE hasnt been able and hasnt been
willing to engage or to begin to think about working more in partnership both with the
employers, with the academic, with the independent or with the Trade Union side. I think its
only in recent years that weve actually been given the green light to do that by the
Government and I think that well see a change in the attitude and a change in our impact, but
I do agree with it that that carries risk and I think those of us in HSE on both the Policy and
the Operations side understand that that is a risk and were working to try and make sure that
our work in this respect is effective so thanks for that.

Summary of Q&A Session: Stewart Campbell (HSE, Director for Scotland)

Id like to just briefly sum up now because to someone who hasnt had much contact with the
offshore industry up until now it has been a very interesting, and for me at least a very
informative evening. Weve covered such issues as the Trade Union involvement offshore,
the role of OILC and weve come back to that in terms of improved communication, improved
workforce involvement and improved workforce involvement in Step Change. Weve spoken
about the more recent concern about prosecution in Scotland, the possible development of a
different regime north and south of the border which well have to agree to disagree about at
the moment Weve talked about the transfer of experience and the sharing of experience
between different offshore States, different offshore regimes; weve spent quite a bit of time
talking about different aspects of rig mechanisation, about good practice, about reasonable
practicability, a lot of important issues there which clearly are being considered very seriously
by the industry. We spoke about the relationship between OIAC and Step Change, about
trying to get behavioural change, about the relationship with PILOT and about HSEs role in
relation to poor workforce involvement and the importance of actually getting more and better
workforce involvement and again we came back to that at the end. We discussed the
representation of safety professionals both within IACs in general within the Health and
Safety Commission and in particular in OIAC. And we discussed Safety Case Regs changes
and the importance of contributions into this process from everybody thats represented here.
We touched at the end upon the impact of reductions in numbers employed and the
importance of factoring into that the proper management of stress which this process might
create and the importance overall, I think, of managing these changes properly and
professionally. So it seems to me in that array weve covered actually a lot of issues from
both the strategic through the tactical and the operational and a lot of very important issues.
So Id like to thank you all for coming, Id like to thank particularly our panellists here for
responding and discussing with you the questions that were of interest to you and to all of you
for participating so positively and enthusiastically; so thanks very much and I hope well see
you all again at a similar event in the future, thanks.

15
OIAC Current membership List

Chairman
Mr Nick Starling
Health and Safety Executive, Director, Safety Policy
Secretary
Mr Graham Collins
Health and Safety Executive, Safety Policy Directorate C3
Confederation of British Industry (CBI) nominated members
Mr Bob Kyle
Mr Edmund J N Brookes
Assistant Director Health and Safety
British Rig Owners Association
United Kingdom Offshore Operators
(BROA)
Association (UKOOA)
Dr Robin Donnelly Mr Phillip Ley
Head of Occupational Health Manager: Health, Safety & Environment
Shell U.K. Exploration and Production. Wood Group Engineering Ltd
Mr Peter Reiss Mr Bob Lauder
HR Corporate Advisor Health and Safety Manager
Shell UK Expro Talisman Energy (UK) Limited.
Trades Union Congress (TUC) nominated members
Mr Mark Dickenson Mr Roger Jeary
Executive Officer National Secretary (Manufacturing)
NUMAST AMICUS (MSF Branch)
Mr John Taylor
Mr Steve Todd
District Officer
National Union of Rail, Maritime and
Transport and General Workers Union
Transport Workers (RMT)
(TGWU)
Mr Fraser Adam
Mr Rab Wilson
Regional Organiser
Regional Officer
General Municipal & Boilermakers
AMICUS (AEEU Branch)
Union (GMB)
Observers
CBI - Mr James May
TUC - Mr Larry Cairns
Director-General
Policy Adviser, Co-ordinator
UKOOA
Commander Robin F Raphael MIMgt Dr Brian M Abbott
Marine Surveyor (Nautical) Technical Director
Maritime & Coastguard Agency Institute of Petroleum

Mr Colin Weaver
Principal Engineer
Department of Trade and Industry

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