Sleipner A workers stressed by long hours and increased workload, audit finds

The Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority has identified irregularities aboard Equinor’s Sleipner A platform in the North Sea. The issues found are related to the working environment aboard the platform, including long working hours, increased workloads, and noise and chemicals protection.

Sleipner A platform storm Photographer: Øyvind Hagen/Equinor

The safety body this week said that during the audit carried out between January 30 and February 7, 2019, it found five non-conformities and one improvement point that Equinor needs to fix.

The objective of the audit was to verify that Equinor’s management of the working environment for its own employees and contractors does not expose the personnel to the risk of harm to their health, the safety authority said.

The PSA found non-conformities in relation to work exceeding agreed working hours and exceeding normal working hours; Manning and competence; inadequate decision-support – materials handling of scaffolding, and chemicals-related health risk.

The safety body has found that during the last two years the Sleipnir A organization has had a considerable amount of work beyond agreed working hours and that Equinor has not ensured sufficient staffing aboard the platform.

According to the PSA Audit, the workers have been feeling stressed as a result of increased workload and reduced capacity, which has reportedly led to challenges in maintaining competence, poorer planning, increased unpredictability, and increased workload.

The PSA has also shared that overtime work can be too stressful for a worker and result in sickness absence, which is already considered to be too high aboard the platform.

“During the past two years, the Sleipner organization has had considerable work beyond agreed working hours. It emerged that sickness absence was covered with extra call-out or extended stay. It emerged from interviews that executive personnel experienced that finances and efficiency were prioritized over HSE,” the PSA said.

Apart from this, the PSA has found several instances where Equinor has not sufficiently ensured that harmful chemical exposure is avoided.

The safety watchdog has also identified several employee groups exposed to hearing-impairing noise levels of over 83dBA over 12 hour periods. The audit revealed that many Sleipner A employees did not use the previously agreed on hearing protection solution QuietPro either for practical or medical reasons.

“It was estimated that 20-30% of employees could not use QuietPro for medical response,” the Petroleum Safety Authority said.

“We have asked Equinor to report on how the non-conformities will be addressed. We have also asked for their assessment of the improvement point we observed. The deadline for feedback is set at 15 August 2019,” PSA Norway said.

Offshore Energy Today has reached out to Equinor, seeking to find out what the company has so far done to amend the identified issues. Equinor did not respond to our request for comment.
Offshore Energy Today Staff

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