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Member Country Profile - United Kingdom

Country: United Kingdom
Organisation: Health and Safety Executive
Regime Scope: Health & Safety. The Health and Safety regime applies onshore and offshore with specific legislation (alongside general H & S legislation) for the upstream oil and gas industry.
Administering Agency /Arrangements: HSE is a UK Government, non-departmental public body reporting to an executive board.
Legislation Type: National Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and supporting regulations. A combination of legislation applicable to all industries with additional specific major hazard regulations for the offshore oil and gas industry. Non major hazard legislation is applied offshore on an activity basis.
Extent Of Government Approval: Duty holders must prepare and submit a safety case to HSE for assessment and acceptance, before an offshore installation can operate in the UK sector.
Nature Of Duties Imposed: Primarily goal setting legislation which sets required standards and objectives to be achieved by duty holders, for the continued safe operation of their installations.
Physical Objects In The Regime: Offshore specific legislation applies to Offshore Installations as defined in the regulations. These include fixed and floating production installations, plus non-production installations such as MODU's, FSU's, flotels and others, according to their exposure to major hazard risks. In total, there are around 290 surface installations and another approx 25 mobile drilling rigs in the UK sector on an annual basis.
Assurance Mechanisms: Government Inspectorate. Inspections of duty holders and their installations against the control of major hazards as described in the safety case, and compliance with relevant statutory provisions.
Financial Basis: Cost recovery for upstream oil and gas industry by charging an hourly rate for certain work.
Environmental Regulation Responsibilities:

Although the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for assessing the integrity & safety of offshore installations in the UK via the Offshore Safety Case Regulations (OSCR). DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) is responsible for developing the environmental regulatory framework for the UKCS. DECC administer and ensure compliance with that environmental regime in relation to offshore oil and gas exploration and production and decommissioning. This includes the approval of Oil Pollution Emergency Plans (OPEPs).

Oil Spill Response:

The implementation of any counter pollution measures deployed to minimise the pollution incident is the responsibility of the operator, their third party oil spill responder and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). MCA, an Executive Agency of the Department for Transport is responsible, if required, for deploying any counter pollution measures to minimise pollution incident, and the Secretary of State's Representative (SoSRep) has ultimate powers of intervention.

Transparency: The offshore section of HSE's website ( provides a wide range of related information, including annual offshore health & safety statistics, reports of key intervention programmes, full details of HSE's internal assessment procedures and standards, and safety alerts and information.
Profile Author: Steve Walker
Head of HSE’s Offshore Division
Profile Date: 18 March 2011



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