Environmental Protection

12 Offshore Operators Cited for Missing SEMS Deadline

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement announced that the companies either failed to submit initial audit plans by the Nov. 15 deadline or didn’t complete their audits by that date.

The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is already taking enforcement action to ensure offshore operators comply with the Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) requirements of the Workplace Safety Rule, 30 CFR Subpart S. BSEE recently announced that its director, Brian Salerno, cited 12 offshore operators for either failing to submit an initial audit plan by the Nov. 15 deadline or not completing their audits by that date.

The SEMS requirements were established as a result of the oil spill caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. "An effective, fully implemented SEMS program is essential to reducing risks across offshore operations," said Salerno. "BSEE must be assured that companies are addressing the key elements of SEMS and that they are not needlessly putting their workers and the environment at risk. We will vigorously enforce compliance with this fundamental requirement."

Five companies were told to halt operations because they failed to provide an audit plan and completed audit by the deadline, and they were given three days to reach a safe point in their operations before ceasing work. Seven other companies submitted audit plans that were in compliance but did not finish the audits before the deadline. Those companies were directed to immediately provide BSEE with a copy of their SEMS programs; have their CEOs certify that the companies have implemented the SEMS program; and complete their audit without further delay.

According to BSEE, 84 operators were subject to the deadline and 72 of them completed an initial audit.

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