International Regulators' Forum Global Offshore Safety



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Member Country Profile - United Kingdom

Country: United Kingdom
Organisation: Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in a partnership Competent Authority (OSDR)
Regime Scope: Within the OSDR partnership, HSE leads in regulating offshore health and safety issues and BEIS takes the lead in regulating offshore environmental matters. This involves jointly assessing safety cases; assessing and approving oil pollution emergency plans; inspecting wells and other statutory notifications; undertaking planned inspections; investigating accidents, incidents and complaints; and taking regulatory enforcement action.
Administering Agency /Arrangements: HSE is a UK Government, non-departmental public body reporting to an executive board.

BEIS is a UK Government Department.

The Offshore Safety Directive Regulator (OSDR) is a partnership Competent Authority to regulate major hazard offshore safety and environmental risks covered by the EU Offshore Directive 2013/30/EU.
Legislation Type: National Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and supporting legislation applicable to all industries for health and safety. Merchant Shipping Act 1995 and supporting legislation applicable to all offshore installations in relation to oil pollution emergency plans (OPEPs).

Operation of a Competent Authority in partnership with the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to regulate offshore major safety and environmental hazards under specific legislation that implements the EU Offshore Safety Directive and aligns the UK approach with other EU member states. Non major hazard and environmental legislation is applied offshore on an activity basis.
Extent Of Government Approval: Duty holders must prepare and submit a safety case to the OSDR Competent Authority for assessment and acceptance, before an offshore installation can operate in the UK sector.

Responsible persons must prepare and submit an OPEP to the OSDR Competent Authority for review and approval before offshore oil & gas activities with the potential for pollution by oil can commence.
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 and their pollution response arrangements.
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, 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: Both HSE & BEIS have Government Inspectorates. 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, as well as compliance against their OPEPs.
Financial Basis: Cost recovery for upstream oil and gas industry by charging an hourly rate for certain work.
Environmental Regulation Responsibilities:

The UK HSE regulates health and safety in the offshore oil and gas industry. BEIS is responsible for the regulation of environmental and pollution control matters in relation to the UK offshore oil and gas industry. This ranges from environmental assessment prior to any offshore activity commencing through to decommissioning. It also includes the approval of Oil Pollution Emergency Plans (OPEPs), without which an offshore installation cannot commence operations. Both organisations cooperate in partnership as the Competent Authority for the purposes of the EU Offshore Safety Directive.

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 (DfT) is responsible, if required, for deploying any counter pollution measures to minimise pollution incident, and the Secretary of State's Representative (SoSRep), who works for both DfT and BEIS, has ultimate powers of intervention.

Transparency: The OSDR website hosted on the HSE's website ( provides a wide range of related information relating to the functioning of the OSDR partnership, guidance, reporting and governance arrangements. There are also links to the relevant HSE and BEIS webpages providing annual offshore health, safety & environmental statistics, reports of key intervention programmes, full details of HSE's internal assessment procedures and standards, and safety and environmental alerts and information.
Profile Author: Chris Flint
Head of HSE’s Offshore Division

Wendy Kennedy
Head of BEIS Offshore Oil & Gas Environment & Decommissioning Unit
Profile Date: October 12, 2016



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