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STATEMENT BY UK HEALTH AND SAFETY EXECUTIVE: Offshore industry has more to do says HSE

21 November 2007

A three year investigation and the inspection of nearly 100 offshore installations has resulted in the offshore industry receiving a stark warning from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 

The sector was told that while significant improvements had been made “more must be done!” 

The stark message came at the launch of the KP3 report – a major investigation carried out by the HSE’s Aberdeen based Offshore Division into the safety and integrity of offshore installations and the equipment on them.

Speaking at the launch of the KP3 report, Health and Safety Commission Chair, Judith Hackitt said:

“The KP3 report is an incredibly thorough investigation into the integrity of the assets in the offshore industry and was wide ranging in its scope.  Whilst the sector has co-operated fully with us over the last three years, there can be no mistaking our message to those in the board rooms of the oil and gas offshore companies – there is still much more to do and those in a position of  leadership must  ensure that systems, procedures and best practice is adopted to achieve the goal of the UK continental shelf becoming the safest offshore sector by 2010.

“The report highlights a number of examples of good practice, but there is still a need for better learning and sharing. There were wide variations in performance across the sector and within companies.

“In the light of the findings from the KP3 report, asset integrity will continue to be one of the main priorities for HSE’s Offshore Division in 2008 and for the forseeable future, but it must also be clear that it is for the industry itself to show leadership and face up to its responsibility.”

Ian Whewell, Head of HSE’s Offshore Division added:

“To prevent major accidents it is vital that companies have effective process safety systems to ensure plant and equipment is properly maintained and working as intended. Our advice to the industry is clear – when looking at and testing systems and procedures on installations, companies must take an holistic approach and ensure that all those parts that need to work together to prevent a major incident do precisely that. This naturally applies to those parts of the process that are safety critical – but that does not mean that things that are not classified as safety critical should be ignored.  In a major accident, degraded non safety critical plant or utility systems could seriously impact on the performance of safety critical plant.”

 “The report identified that significant improvements in the sector could be achieved without major capital expenditure but through better planning, improved training and clear statements of performance standards in testing and maintenance routines.

“The advantages of better safety in the sector are obvious.  However, ensuring the offshore infrastructure is well maintained also makes good business sense as its not just the industry that benefits – the whole economy benefits and it will help ensure that there is a long term sustainable future for the offshore industry.”

The KP3 investigation involved targeted inspections of nearly 100 offshore installations of all types, including fixed, manned and normally unattended isntallations, floating production, floating production storage and offloading vessels and mobile drilling rigs.

Many senior managers are not making adequate use of integrity management data and are not giving ongoing maintenance sufficient priority;

The role of asset integrity and concept of barriers in major hazard risk control is not well understood.

Companies need better key indicators of performance available at the most senior management levels to inform decision-making and to focus resources. Many management-monitoring systems tend to be overly biased to occupational risk data at the expense of major hazard precursors.

Evidence of a decline in integrity performance which may hamper future field development and long term sustainability, with an adverse impact on morale in the workforce.

Notes to editors
Judith Hackitt, Chair of the Health and Safety Commission and Ian Whewell, Head of the Offshore Division are available for interview.

A copy of the report is available on the HSE website on

Asset Integrity can be defined as the ability of an asset to perform its required function effectively and efficiently whilst protecting health, safety and the environment.  Asset integrity management is the means of ensuring that the people, systems, processes and resources that deliver integrity, are in place, in use and will perform when required over the whole lifecycle of the asset.

Essential for the integrity of any installation are the Safety Critical Elements (SCE’s)These are the parts of an installation and its plant (including computer programmes) whose purpose is to prevent, control or mitigate Major Accident Hazards (MAH) and the failure of which could cause or contribute substantially to a major accident.  KP3 focused primarily on the maintenance management of SCEs i.e. the management systems and processes which should ensure that SCEs would be available when required.

Leadership among Chief Executives in the major hazard sector is a key theme for HSE next year. As a result, HSE will be inviting personally 250 senior managers and other industry, regulatory, trade union and government leaders to discuss how top level commitment and leadership is essential in securing the strong, positive safety culture so important if major incidents are to be avoided. The conference is being held at the QEII Conference Centre in London on 29 April 2007.”

Press enquiries
Ruchi Shah-Mehta 020 7717 6455
Out of hours 020 7928 8382

Public enquiries
HSE’s InfoLine 0845 3450055
Caerphilly Business Park, Caerphilly CF83 3GG

HSE information and news releases can be accessed on the Internet and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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