PSA: Industrial Standards Supplement HSE Regulations

Petroleum Safety Authority Norway

The regulatory requirements for the petroleum industry depend on good industrial standards. The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) is an active participant in relevant standardization work, where we see a potential for improved safety levels.

The HSE regulations for the petroleum activities have been formulated mainly with functional requirements that specify the HSE levels that must be attained in the activity. To give the industry the predictability it needs, the regulations often referred to as industrial standards or to other normative documents as the recommended solutions or practice.

The use of acknowledged standards and norms is voluntary, to the extent that the players are free to choose other technical solutions, methods or procedures, if they can document compliance with the regulatory requirements.

New industrial standards may become reference points

The process of developing or revising industrial standards is extensive, and includes consultation rounds in which all the engaged parties are invited to comment.

The authorities are given the opportunity, just like the other involved parties, to contribute to this process, for example by sitting on committees. The authorities do not, however, have any formal or decision-making role to play, either for international or national standards.

The PSA sees it as appropriate that we play an active part in the development of new standards for certain areas, to help the industry arrive at results that will meet the functional requirements set by the regulations for these areas.

When new industrial standards are established, the PSA will consider these in relation to the existing regulatory requirements. In other words, the PSA does not determine the contents of a standard, but we can determine whether a standard is good enough for us to refer to it in our regulations.

In some instances the Petroleum Safety Authority will also act as an initiator to ensure that the industry develops good industrial standards. Among recent examples, we have been urging the Norwegian Oil Industry Association, OLF, to develop new industrial standards for lifeboats and lifetime extensions.