Offshore Oil and Gas - New Legislation
On the 6th April 2013 the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (Application outside Great Britain) Order 2013 (the 'Order') was introduced.
The Order has revoked both the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (Application outside Great Britain) Order 2001 and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (Application outside Great Britain) (Variation) Order 2011. It re-enacts their provisions with modifications and introduces new articles associated with emerging energy technologies (EETs).
The new order seeks to create long run health and safety benefits as companies in the sector learn from incidents that occur and seek to drive risk as low as is reasonably practicable as well as:
Create legal clarity for firms (duty holders) that HSE has the power to regulate activities associated with new emerging energy technologies (e.g. combustible gas storage, carbon dioxide storage and underground coal gasification);
Simplify the new Order, by clarifying the definition of certain activities due to lessons learned based on operational experience.
Steve Terry, Managing Director at Astutis welcomes these recent legislative changes:
“The very nature of the Offshore industry means that it is high risk and as such needs regular monitoring. Emerging Technology activities (and the associated risks to health and safety) such as storage of combustible gas in man made reservoirs, wind farms and carbon dioxide storage could not have been envisaged when the initial Order was first drafted in 2001 with its subsequent variation in 2011. There are currently some large scale EET survey and explorations activities being carried out off UK shores and the new legislation will provide the basis required for ensuring the safety of all involved.”
It is worth noting that the Order differs to all other Health and Safety Regulations in that rather than adding detailed requirements to general duties established in sections 2 to 9 of the HSWA, it extends the geographical application of the HSWA beyond the mainland of Great Britain to specified offshore areas and work activities. If the 2001 Order did not do this effectively, HSE would not have the power to enforce legislation governing these activities and workers involved would not be afforded the protection the requirements of the HSWA delivers, despite working in some of the most dangerous working conditions.
HSE do not expect there to be any compliance costs for industry.
You can read the HSE’s Impact assessment here. Alternatively, find the Application of Health and Safety Law Offshore here.
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