High safety level on the Norwegian Shelf

Both the authorities and the social partners agree that the safety level on the Norwegian Shelf is high, and that a positive development has taken place over time. "But we have seen signals indicating that cooperation between the parties has come under pressure, and the Petroleum Safety Authority must use all the instruments at its disposal when necessary," says Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Anniken Hauglie.

The Government presented a new White Paper on HSE in the petroleum activities on 6 April. 

Safety level

The report concludes that safety levels have developed in a positive direction over time. There is also agreement on the fact that the current HSE regime largely functions well, and should be continued. 

"The industry is responsible for safety. My clear expectation is that the industry must adjust and adapt to changes in the petroleum activities, while simultaneously reinforcing safety and the working environment. We are, and will continue to be, world leaders when it comes to HSE," says the Minister. 

Cooperation

The current HSE regime is characterised by extensive cooperation between the social partners. The petroleum industry has gone through a challenging period, and there have been clear signals that this cooperation is facing pressure. However, there are different opinions regarding this. 

"I am not going to be the arbiter here, but when some believe that this cooperation is under pressure, then everyone should take this very seriously," says the Minister.

She emphasises that the authorities also play an important role in the cooperation between the social partners. 

The Petroleum Safety Authority

The Petroleum Safety Authority supervises the petroleum activities. This supervision must be a strong and clear presence throughout all phases.

In some cases, there is a need for the Petroleum Safety Authority to be more explicit in the way in which it reacts, and it must verify that nonconformities and orders are followed up. The Government is not proposing a change in the current HSE regime or supervision strategy; however, the Petroleum Safety Authority must actively and systematically utilise the entire spectrum of policy instruments at its disposal, when necessary. 

Clear expectation

"The level is high when it comes to health, safety and the environment in the petroleum industry. However, there are also challenges. My clear expectation is that the industry must adapt to the changes in the petroleum activities. The safety level must be further developed, efficiency measures must be implemented and the cost level must be reduced in order to ensure a continued sustainable development in the Norwegian petroleum activities. But regardless, this must never come at the expense of safety on the Shelf," says Hauglie.