| Written by Vidar Borgen

With a long history and tradition in travelling the rough sea and also extreme weather conditions under their belts, Norwegians have excelled in learning how to stay safe. This is one of the reasons, why today Norway is a highly respected and leading nation in regards of Health Safety and Environment (HSE) technology for offshore applications.

Hard hat on window board

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Getting to these high HSE standards of today did not happen overnight. As often, serious incidents led to increased awareness of this topic.

HISTORICAL EVENTS CREATE AWARENESS OF HSE STANDARDS

In 1978, the government launched an extensive offshore safety programme, after an incident on the Ekofisk complex the year before. Despite the new government initiative, Norway experienced its worst industrial disaster in 1980 when the Alexander Kielland accommodation rig capsized. 123 people died. The inquiry argued that there had been “inadequate safety training and exercises, and lack of life-saving equipment.”

The UK Continental Shelf “Piper Alpha” explosion in 1988, causing the deaths of 167 crew members, was another offshore disaster that heavily impacted today’s North Sea HSE regulations. According to the accident report, a significant takeaway was the “lack of control and coordination”, including “inadequate follow-up and checking of personnel work permits in the years ahead of the accident.”

The offshore oil and gas industry is, in a historical sense, still young. Unquestionably working in such extreme environments, with harsh weather conditions, huge mechanical equipment and exposure to dangerous gases and liquids, carries a lot of risks.

It is evident that many of the more significant regulatory changes have been shaped by, and have come as a result of serious incidents, and not solely by preventative thinking. However, these incidents raised the bar for HSE standards and increased awareness of the importance of these topics.

As a leading provider of wireless solutions guaranteeing visibility to improve efficiency, safety as well as security in challenging industrial operating environments, we spent a lot of time developing a highly scalable solution – Crew Companion – for exactly these purposes.