To ensure the effectiveness of recently mandated Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS) programs for offshore drilling and production operations, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) should take a holistic approach that modifies some of its existing practices, says a new report from the National Research Council. These should include inspections, operator audits, bureau audits, key performance indicators, and a “whistleblower” program. The report emphasizes using cooperation and consultation to further develop a culture of safety.
These recommendations are consistent with the bureau’s proposed changes to SEMS with the exception of one change to require that audits be performed by third parties. The Research Council report stresses that a truly independent internal audit team is preferred to an external third-party team to avoid the development of a “compliance mentality.” Audits should be carried out by the operator’s internal qualified, independent team whenever possible. BSEE, however, should approve all audit plans and receive a copy of each audit and follow-up report