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NEBOSH backs calls for international oil and gas safety standard

NEBOSH is backing calls for a stringent set of international safety standards for the oil and gas industry.

NEBOSH said it was time to consider whether the worldwide oil and gas industry ought to be governed by a regime similar to that operated by the UN backed International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to cover nuclear safety.

Hilary Ross, a partner at national law firm Bond Pearce, recently called for an international safety standard for oil and gas in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. She recommended using the UK and Norwegian safety regimes as a model for other countries to follow. Both the UK and Norway raised safety standards considerably following the Piper Alpha oil rig explosion in the North Sea in 1988.

NEBOSH Chief Executive, Teresa Budworth, commented: "The stakes are too high in oil and gas to depend on inconsistent and varying safety standards. The Deepwater Horizon incident cost the lives of eleven workers and the full extent of the subsequent environmental disaster remains unknown. Only time will reveal the true impact of the biggest oil spill ever to have hit the US."

Teresa went on to say: "Everyone is aware that the nuclear industry presents a huge potential threat to life and the environment. Here, the IAEA sets and promotes international safety standards and helps countries, and the industry, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

"A global benchmark for safety should also be set for the oil and gas industry, to be followed wherever it operates. There needs to be a debate about who does this, and how, but the UN's IAEA model is perhaps something that should be looked at for oil and gas."

NEBOSH has begun to play its part in raising health and safety standards in the industry through its new NEBOSH International Technical Certificate in Oil and Gas Operational Safety.

The qualification focuses on safety management systems, helping those working in the industry to fulfil their workplace safety responsibilities both onshore and offshore. NEBOSH recommends that anyone taking this specialist qualification already has an underpinning knowledge of safety issues, and may have already studied for one of its other certificate or diploma level qualifications, such as the NEBOSH International General Certificate.

Further information on the International Technical Certificate in Oil and Gas Operational Safety can be found by clicking here.

Hilary Ross will be discussing the development of an international safety standard for oil and gas at an event later this year in Aberdeen, which is being organised by Oil & Gas IQ.  More information can be found here:  http://www.contractriskmanagement.com/Event.aspx?id=380484

Further information about Bond Pearce can be found at www.bondpearce.com.