Leading Indicators for Major Hazard Risk in Offshore Petroleum Operations (PSAM-0002)


The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (formerly Norwegian Petroleum Directorate) took in 1999 the initiative to develop an approach in order to assess trends and status for the risk levels in the Norwegian offshore petroleum industry. An approach was developed, and a pilot study report was issued in April 2001, covering the period 1996–2000. Annual updates have been performed since then, and the latest report covers the period 1996–2004. The project covers major hazards, as well as occupational hazards, health hazards as well as risk perception, HES culture, motivation and communication.

The statistical approach is based on recording occurrence of near misses and relevant incidents, performance of barriers and results from risk assessments. Of similar importance is an evaluation of safety culture, motivation, communication and perceived risk. The latter aspects are covered through the use of social science methods, such as questionnaire surveys, a number of interviews with selected ‘key informants’ as well as field studies. Also audit reports, inspection reports and accident and incident investigations are used. Finally, there are also indicators for occupational accidents and occupational illness/physical working environment factors.

Data from all installations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf are collected on a voluntary basis. The results are expressed on a national level as well on an installation level, where appropriate. For the installation level, the results are presented in an anonymous manner, such that no particular installation or company may be recognized. Companies may however, have explicit feed back of their own results.

From the start, the indicators for major hazards were mainly lagging indicators, in the sense that they are based on occurrences of near-misses and severe incidents. Since 2002 however, also leading indicators are used, in the sense that indicators for barrier performance are included together with the lagging indicators.

There are individual indicators for a number of barrier functions, including fire and gas detection, a number of safety valves, active fire protection and mustering of personnel. Also an overall barrier indicator is presented, based on a simplified approach.The Risk Level project has been successful in the sense that it has been seen to provide a representative description of the status and trends in safety of offshore operations. On this basis, the paper considers possible expansion of the approach into other industries and social activities.

  • Summary/Abstract
  • Background and Introduction
  • Overview of Indicators
  • Event Based Indicators for Major Hazard Risk
  • Barrier Indicators for Major Hazard Risk
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions and Recommendations
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abbreviations
  • References

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