BSEE, USCG on Sharing Information, Jt Ops
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno and U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Paul Thomas participated in a luncheon panel discussion today at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston. The discussion focused on topics relevant to joint inspections of offshore facilities and other offshore regulatory issues. Center for Offshore Safety Executive Director Charlie Williams hosted and moderated the session on the final day of OTC.
The Director and Rear Admiral discussed their coordinated approach to joint inspections and incident investigations and how they’re carried out. They described the protocol for sharing information on worst case discharge scenarios, as well as how joint working groups and quarterly meetings enhance collaboration. Director Salerno described how coordination with industry takes place in the form of Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) plans, with the common goal of a safer, more environmentally friendly Outer Continental Shelf.
Director Salerno explained that in the six years of SEMS evolution, there has been an ongoing process of improvement regarding how safety is incorporated into work performed offshore. Director Salerno said that operators are using the management systems prescribed in their SEMS, and learning from them and enhancing the offshore safety culture. The director and Admiral said they believe that SEMS effectiveness will continue to grow through improved communication between all members of the operator and contractor workforce. Additionally, SEMS effectiveness will improve when operators focus on learning from what works and what doesn’t work with regard to safety issues.
The panel members described an ongoing initiative to help them coordinate joint offshore safety inspections. The initiative involves joint inspections of rigs and platforms to confirm compliance with the agencies safety inspections. Eleven joint inspection trips have been completed, and several more are currently planned. The joint inspections create an opportunity for cross training and holistic approach to offshore regulatory compliance. On a related initiative, BSEE will focus some of its resources on higher risk indicators which inform our decisions related to risk management.
Concluding the lunch session with discussion about BSEE’s risk-based inspection program, Director Salerno explained that it is part of the National Inspection Program and will live alongside BSEE’s annual inspections and SEMS program. The primary driver behind this program is to focus some efforts on higher-risk facilities and operations. As such, BSEE will focus some of its resources on higher risk activities and systematically monitor and manage facility and operational risk profiles. “The goal of risk-based inspections is to drive safety performance beyond where we are now by perhaps looking at things differently than our regular inspections and SEMS audits,” said Director Salerno.