BSEE Director: We are still having too many offshore incidents

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno has completed a two-day trip to the State of Texas Friday where he met with stakeholders and viewed critical pieces of safety equipment.

While in Texas, Director Salerno delivered a keynote address at the Second Annual Center for Offshore Safety Forum in Houston, Texas on Thursday then traveled with representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Friday to tour the Marine Well Containment Company’s (MWCC) facilities in Ingleside, Texas.

During his address at the Center for Offshore Safety Forum, Director Salerno spoke about the importance of offshore safety and consistency between BSEE and the USCG’s approach to safety management. Speaking with USCG Rear Admiral Joseph Servidio, Director Salerno highlighted the Memorandum of Agreement signed last year by the USCG and BSEE related to safety management systems and how both agencies are working closely to achieve greater consistency and clarity in how their two agencies are working to implement and enforce offshore safety management systems.

“We recently marked the two-year anniversary of BSEE, and are closing in on the one-year anniversary of the SEMS II rule. These milestones are an appropriate time for reflection. While I am proud of the work we are doing to improve safety on the OCS, we have not put ourselves out of business yet – there are still significant gaps and we are still having too many incidents that are endangering the lives of workers and the environment. These incidents are telling us that there are still challenges out there that we all must address if we are going to have a true culture of safety,” Salerno said.

“We have responded to a number of incidents over the past year or so where lives have been lost, workers have been injured, the environment has been polluted, due to a failure to follow basic safety practices. Safety Culture is still very much company specific at this point.

Operators, contractors disconnect

One of the major disconnects is between operators and contractors. Many contractors are simply not familiar with safety procedures on a facility, nor is the operator making much of an effort to ensure safety consistency. This has had some horrifying results, and remains an area of concern for us as we consider the future of the SEMS program.

So my message on safety culture is that we are on the right track, but we are not there yet.”

While visiting the MWCC facilities, Director Salerno was joined by Rear Admiral Servidio and Rear Admiral Kevin Cook from the USCG. The group viewed the MWCC’s well containment equipment and discussed important containment procedures and capabilities with MWCC staff. In 2012, BSEE initiated a deepwater containment exercise utilizing MWCC equipment.

Offshore Energy Today Staff, April 14, 2014

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