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Article   |   Ian Thomas   |   22.04.2021

Is your HSEQ Management System working for you?

In this current oil and gas downturn it is tempting to view the maintenance of a certified HSEQ management system as a costly and unjustifiable overhead when seeking to cut costs and deliver balance sheet efficiency savings in these difficult times.

Evidence suggests that this is exactly what is happening as organisations in the upstream oil and gas sector seek to defer transition to the new ISO9001 and ISO14001 standards, or worse still consider dropping certification on the grounds that the costs are becoming increasingly difficult to justify.

My advice is to take time to review your HSEQ management system to ensure that you are getting the value for money from this business tool that you actually intended when you originally conceived of a certified system before taking any decisions that may be regretted at later date.

When carrying out your review you should not lose sight of the intended benefits of a certified HSEQ management system. That is, continual improvement concerning operator and supply chain HSEQ performance, legal compliance and a reduction in risk profiles.

In context, your HSEQ management system should help you manage the challenges associated with a number of operator and supply chain risk management issues which directly affect the effective management of Safety and Environmentally Critical Elements, as defined by the EU Offshore Safety Directive (UK, SCR 2015), not to mention Environmentally Critical Elements regulated under the Offshore Petroleum Activities (Oil Pollution Prevention and Control) Regulations 2005 (as amended 2011) (OPPC).

When carrying out your review you should not lose sight of the intended benefits of a certified HSEQ management system.

Interestingly, the transition period for operators of production and non production assets to develop and implement a combined Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS), as required by the EU Offshore Directive and SCR 2015 coincides with the time table to transition from ISO 14001:2004 to ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 9001:2008 to ISO 9001:2015. This window of opportunity offers leading operators the ability to “kill two birds with one stone” instead of implementing a piecemeal and often protracted approach to addressing compliance requirements, as is often the case when seeking to address “low hanging fruit”.

Added value can also be achieved by using the common elements of ISO 14001 environmental and ISO 50,001 energy efficiency standards to address other compliance requirements which fall within the 2015 to 2018 window of opportunity.

Further value may also be derived by combining the common elements of the Asset Integrity ISO 55,001 framework in a unified approach to HSEQ risk management, assurance and compliance. Not to mention application of aligned procedures to meet OSPAR requirements, deadline for compliance 2018:

OSPAR Recommendation 2003/5 Environmental Management System requirements

OSPAR Recommendation 2012/5 for a Risk-based Approach to the Management of Produced Water Discharges from Offshore Installations Recommendation

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