Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
Issue link: http://uscgproceedings.epubxp.com/i/665311
17 Spring 2016 Proceedings www.uscg.mil/proceedings the bridging relationship should be more aligned with the working relationship. Subcontracting also separates the leaseholder from some of the operators working on its lease. For example, an oil and gas company hires a contractor to perform dive opera- tions at its facility, and that contractor then contracts a vessel operator to remain on station for those activities. While the production facility may have a bridging agreement with the dive contractor, it may not have a bridging agreement with the vessel that is station-keeping next to the facility. This complicates the safety relationship. Further, although the bridging process between parties helps to mitigate the risk for safety and environmental inci- dents, the operational scheme at an offshore lease site can be extremely complex. An offshore facility typically utilizes multiple vessels for operational or support services. One industry norm is to have vessels maintain distance beyond 500 meters from the facility to reduce risk until vessel ser- vices are actively needed. When facility/vessel interface is required, the vessels will proceed inside the 500-meter zone under the direction of the leaseholder. While the master controls the condition and safety of the vessel, the facility (leaseholder) directs its movements. Risk is elevated when vessels are in close proximity to offshore facilities where the transfer of personnel, bulk liquids, or equipment takes place. While safety procedures aim to con- trol the risk associated with common offshore activity, mul- tiple players are involved and rely upon each other to safely complete the evolution. An environment that has a variety of parties, each with their own degree of responsibility over the operations, may pro- vide a false sense of safety over the entire operation. The leaseholder is rigidly accountable to all its contractors to ensure they're following the appropriate safe work practices. All operators and contractors are confdent that every per- son on the job is following the procedures and is responsible for safety in their work area. This perception may remove a sense of vulnerability among the workers at the lease site, prompting them to let down their guard regarding potential hazards around them. While safety and environmental management systems introduce more procedures to control the probability of human error, they must be backed up by a safety culture that infuences crew attitudes and perceptions. Crew par- ticipation and ownership of the SEMS is an effective way to improve understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the system's policies and procedures. The offshore lease site may have multiple active safety and environmental man- agement systems and bridging agreements, so it's critical that workers, in addition to safety managers, understand the appropriate procedures to be followed. Additionally, the leaseholder is responsible for all activities at the lease site and should ensure that the safety culture of each contractor facilitates realistic perceptions of the state of offshore safety. Safety performance indicates that offshore operators have been effectively managing the risk of safety and environmental accidents with SEMS, but that doesn't mean the risk isn't present. The risk is always present, and operators, contractors, and regulators must be vigilant to continue to properly utilize safety and environmental man- agement systems to prevent safety and environmental inci- dents on the outer continental shelf. About the author: LT Jason Kling recently transferred to the Marine Safety Center from the Offce of Design and Engineering Standards. He graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 2005 and the University of Maryland Clark School of Engineering in 2013. His tours include Sector New York and Sec- tor Mobile. Endnotes: 1. Safety Management Systems (SMS) is the term used by the marine industry, while Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) is the term used by the offshore industry. The two terms represent the same concept of a system of poli- cies and procedures used to manage safety and environmental risks associated with work activities. 2. 75 FR 63610, "Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf — Safety and Environmental Management Systems." 3. 78 FR 20423, "Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf — Revisions to Safety and Environmental Management Systems." 4. 78 FR 55230, "Safety and Environmental Management System Requirements for Vessels on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf." Coast Guard personnel observe dynamic positioning operations on an off- shore service vessel. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of LT Jason Kling.