Environmental Protection

SEMS II Rule Mandates Stop Work Authority

Released by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement last week, the final rule will take effect June 4 and expands on the initial Safety and Environmental Management Systems rule issued in October 2010.

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Director Jim Watson recently announced the agency's Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) II final rule, which expands the initial SEMS regulation issued in October 2010. SEMS II will be effective on June 4, 2013. Both rules are meant to address and manage operational safety hazards for projects on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.

"Offshore oil and gas safety starts with a robust positive safety culture, and BSEE's workplace safety rules are designed to promote that culture by eliminating complacency and making sure that companies are looking at the human factors that underlie too many accidents," Watson said. "This effort takes another important step towards protecting workers and the environment from preventable accidents."

SEMS II requires that oil and gas operations to implement a stop work authority authorizing any offshore industry personnel who witness an imminent risk or dangerous activity to stop the work. It also requires offshore operators to clearly define who has the ultimate work authority on a facility for operational safety and decision making at any given time and requires that the team lead for an audit be independent and represent an accredited audit service provider.

SEMS II does not affect an operator's first audit cycle, according to a BSEE fact sheet about the final rule.

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