Bureau Veritas Certification announced its provisional accreditation as an official SEMS Audit Service Provider for the Center for Offshore Safety (COS). Originally introduced as recommended practice RP 75 in 1990, the Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) standard has since evolved in scope and developed into a set of mandatory regulations under the management of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). According to BSEE, SEMS shall be used by operators as a foundation for their offshore business operations.
The latest iteration of the SEMS safety framework, referred to as SEMS II, represents the current thinking from the offshore industry, regulators, and other influential stakeholders, and demonstrates an increased focus on issues related to human behavior. SEMS II puts forth new requirements pertaining to stop work authority (SWA) and ultimate work authority (UWA), employee participation plans (EPP), job safety analyses (JSA), and guidelines for reporting unsafe working conditions. The new rule also requires that SEMS programs be audited by accredited third-party audit service providers (ASP).
"The addition of the SEMS accreditation service to the Bureau Veritas portfolio ideally positions us to provide audit services to offshore operators in the Gulf of Mexico and help them ensure all mandatory safety rules and regulations are being enforced," said Greg Gordillo, SEMS Product Manager, Bureau Veritas Certification.
Bureau Veritas Certification North America has already reached agreements with several operators to provide independent third-party audits to help them achieve and demonstrate compliance with SEMS requirements as well as alignment with BSEE's efforts to reduce the occurrence of accidents, injuries, and spills. The deadline for audit commencement is November 15th, 2013 and operators should move quickly in scheduling their audits, ideally before the hurricane season.
"We are proud to be among the first third-party certification bodies to assist OCS operators with their SEMS audit process," said Jorge Hercules, Vice-President of Bureau Veritas Certification North America. "We have made significant investments in our auditor network, all of which meet our stringent qualification and approval process. Our audit teams have completed SEMS training, have been approved by COS, and are ready to get offshore."
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