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HSE comment on creation of new Energy Division

Date:
2 April 2013
Article:
“HSE responds to concerns over creation of new Energy Division” – The Press and Journal Energy, 2 April 2013

Sir, I wish to reassure the Unions, industry and concerned MSPs that HSE’s reorganisation of its major hazard directorate through the creation of an Energy Division will not weaken offshore regulation. On the contrary, HSE has been, and will remain, committed to strengthening it.

This is why we have made a case to Ministers to both increase the number of offshore inspectors and pay increased salaries to attract more recruits from the offshore industry. Both cases have been agreed by Ministers and we are currently recruiting and will continue to do so. This is why our key interventions with the industry such as the KP4 asset integrity programme and our support and involvement in the Step Change programme will be totally unaffected by the reorganisation. Other than the evolution of our intervention strategy to keep abreast of technological and other developments offshore, including industry performance, it will remain ‘business as usual’ from an external point of view.

Staff working on offshore safety will comprise over 75 per cent of staff in the Energy Division and, far from diluting our offshore expertise, we are reorganising so that we can supplement it with expertise from other major hazard sectors. Our ability to do this was one of the reasons why regulation of offshore safety was transferred from the then Department of Energy 25 years ago. The change also enables us to more effectively regulate emerging energy technologies such as underground coal gasification and carbon capture and storage.

We’re all agreed on the need for a robust regulatory regime offshore – we owe it to those who have lost their lives in the industry and to those who still work there. All organisations must adapt to the changing environment in which they work. But they must also stay true to their central purpose. The practical steps we are taking to strengthen our offshore resources is a clear practical sign that we are staying true to our purpose of helping to make the North Sea a safer place to work.

Kevin Myers
Deputy Chief Executive
Health and Safety Executive