17 April 2013
Jake Molloy makes a number of points about the implications for offshore safety of a recent reorganisation within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). They deserve a response.
Jake says the creation of an HSE Energy Division, by far the largest part of which will deal exclusively with offshore safety, is a profound change to offshore inspection, investigation and enforcement. It isn’t. All HSE’s offshore programmes are completely unaffected by the change. These programmes are a matter of public record contained in HSE’s business plan. Jake goes on to say that the change will dilute the expertise of offshore inspectors. The opposite is true. The new division will supplement expertise by the addition of on and offshore pipeline experts. Jake says there will be a reduction in expertise. But HSE has been, and remains, committed to expanding its offshore specialist resource. We are advertising for such posts currently. Finally, Jake fears that this signals a downgrading of the importance HSE attaches to offshore safety. It doesn’t.
The Cullen report was, as Jake says, a key moment in offshore safety. But he focuses on three out of a total of 106 recommendations, and this minor internal reorganisation does not put HSE’s implementation of the whole Cullen "package& in jeopardy. According to most national and international assessments made in the wake of Deepwater Horizon, we have a world class regulatory regime, which is being now being adopted as the model for Europe.
Our commitment towards a safe working environment for offshore workers remains as strong now as it ever was. This is best demonstrated by HSE’s actions in inspecting, investigating, enforcing, working in partnership in initiatives such as Step Change and seeking to increase its resources to do all these things. These, rather than how HSE organises itself internally, are the real test of that commitment.
Deputy Chief Executive
Health and Safety Executive