More than 350 offshore operators and contractors attended a special conference on new government requirements for Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) on Thursday, July 21. The meeting, hosted by PEC Premier, the leader in oil and gas safety compliance and training services, was aimed at helping contractors understand the new rule and their responsibilities under SEMS.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has given lease-holders until November 15th to implement SEMS plans at their offshore drilling and production facilities. SEMS plans must tie together the full range of safety practices and procedures for oil and gas companies and require that operators evaluate the safe work practices, training and mechanical integrity plans for thousands of contractors and service companies that support offshore projects.
“We think it is important that we do everything we can to educate the contractors on their responsibilities under SEMS and to help them meet the expectations of the oil and gas companies that are their customers,” said Wes Carr, President of PEC Premier, “November 15th is less than four months away and we all have a lot of work ahead of us to make sure our entire industry meets the deadline.”
Guest speakers included several operators who are implementing SEMS plans and outside experts who write the plans. The speakers shared their specific guidance on the steps contractors need to take now if they are going to be allowed to work offshore after November 15th. These steps included:
- Making sure that their safe work practices are in writing and that their companies are following those practices. SEMS requires that operators evaluate contractors’ safety approaches and safe work practices and make sure they align with the operator’s SEMS plan.
- Documenting safety training for personnel and evaluations of what SEMS refers to as “skills and knowledge” for personnel who work offshore.
- Ensuring that any critical equipment brought offshore is covered in mechanical integrity plans.
- Keeping any documents and records so that they are available to the operators or BOEMRE on request.
One of the most valuable things that came out of the meeting was a draft SEMS mapping document that was developed by a subcommittee of the Offshore Operators’ Committee. While the OOC does not write industry standards, the mapping document, when completed, will help contractors match their safety approaches to their customers’ SEMS plans.
PEC Premier also demonstrated new services that it has developed to help the industry comply with SEMS. According to Wes Carr, “PEC has developed a special SEMS Suite to help operators evaluate contractors in a way that keeps contractors from being bombarded with multiple requests to send the same documents to several operators and to have to maintain records for several years.”
PEC is also updating its training programs to incorporate the requirements of SEMS and other new regulatory requirements. For more information on the conference or on PEC Premier, contact Ken Wells at 800-892-8179.