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June 5th, 2013

Feds Urge Offshore Companies to Focus on Safety

After a string of safety incidents in the Gulf of Mexico, the federal administration is urging offshore oil and gas drilling companies drilling in the region, to increase their focus on safety and oversight of their operations.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has released a policy statement, in which it claims that it will monitor the safety culture at these companies as well as contractors helping these companies. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement statement came soon after the deadly Black Elk Energy platform fire in the Gulf of Mexico. Two Filipino workers were killed in that fire, and several workers were injured.

With this draft safety culture policy statement, the regulators are taking some cues from the work done by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to foster and promote a safety culture within that industry, after the 1979 nuclear safety incident at Pennsylvania’s 3 Mile Island plant. According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, it has reviewed the safety culture policy at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and has found that the policy provides a strong foundation for similar steps to be taken in the case of oil and gas drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico and the Outer Continental shelf.

For instance, one of the aspects of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s safety culture policy that the Bureau wants to promote is a culture that promotes thinking, feeling and behaving in a manner that emphasizes safety. Additionally, the policy would include quick identification and corrections of problem areas, allowing workers to be free to raise questions about safety issues without fear of retaliation or reprisals, and personal accountability.

The Houston offshore injury lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers  represent offshore rig workers who have suffered injuries, helping them recover compensation for their losses.

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