Has SEMS Made Offshore Safer? – Conference-goers Divided on Question.

We are now nearly two years into the new SEMS rules. Are we better off? Participants at a conference this week weighed in. I had the pleasure of moderating a panel on contractor safety under SEMS at the Offshore Process Safety Conference held in Houston last week. The participants were:

• Heather Corken, Partner, Bracewell & Giuliani
• Steve Langlinais, Global QHSE Manager, Greene’s Energy Group
• Rick Bui, Vice President HS&E Sr. Baker Hughes
• Kevin Graham, Director of Compliance, M&H Energy Services
• David Dugas, Sr. EH&S Specialist, Apache
Probably the most knowledgeable group I could imagine on the subject of what contractors need to do under SEMS.

One thing we did as a part of the session was to survey the audience on whether they thought SEMs had made offshore safer and what they would change about SEMS. Here are the results:
66% say yes, SEMS has made offshore oil and gas safer
33% say no it has not.

An admittedly small and very unscientific survey, but some of their answers to the second question, are worth repeating:

On the second question (What would you change about SEMS?)  here is what they said:

  • “Include design standards.”
  • Give us more “examples of ‘good ’and ‘ bad’ from BSEE”
  • “Assure that people doing work offshore are knowledgeable enough to ensure that they prevent harm to people and/or to the environment” (That was from an audience member who said SEMS has not made us safer).
  • “Clearer guidelines on ‘required’ offshore training.”
  • “Accept it and get on with it, you are 20 years behind.” (Needless to say, that was from someone who said SEMS has made us safer).

What do you think? Safer? Not safer? What would you change?

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