The safety department on a platform was directly subordinate to the same unit at the Stavanger head office, rather than to the platform manager like the other departments. That reflected its independent role.
The safety department comprised a supervisor who reported to the safety superintendent on land, plus foremen and technicians. While most of these personnel worked the day shift, one of the technicians was always on night duty. Most of the safety department’s staff had experience from the merchant navy as deck officers, marine engineers and the like.
The department functioned both as a inspection body and as an adviser to the platform organisation. It conducted periodic checks of all fire-fighting and life-saving equipment. The bulk of such inspections were carried out on a fixed monthly schedule, some were weekly and others only took place every six months. Safety equipment on the loading buoys was among the items checked monthly, and the lifeboats were launched once a year.
The department held an exercise and muster every 10th day, involving either a man overboard or a fire/lifeboat practice. Fire and evacuation exercises were also held on the buoys. Reports were written after each occasion and sent to land.
All employees on Statfjord were supposed to receive training in the use of safety systems, and every recruit was given basic training in and information about these. But only Mobil employees had to attend a refresher course every Sunday.
Each platform had several fire-fighting teams, which were to be mobilised in the event of fires, explosions or gas leaks. These were drilled in their duties for three hours twice a week. The liferafts were demonstrated once a month, while contractor personnel took an annual fireguard course.
Courses were also held as required for people working in the mini-cells, on the use of gas meters and for lifeboat captains. All personnel received training in the use of the lifeboats. Lifeboat allocation was followed up on a daily basis, and weekly for fire-fighters and smoke divers.
The department called and attended a number of meetings, of which the most important were the daily simultaneous drilling and production (SDP) sessions with the platform management. Fixed safety-delegate meetings and safety meetings in every department also took place weekly.
All hazardous work had to be approved by the safety department. That included hot work, jobs in enclosed spaces and other activities which could affect safety. These are all classed today as requiring a level 1 work permit (WP1).
Safety staff had to carry out regular inspections and gas metering, deliver and check gas meters, and maintain continuous supervision of work in the mini-cells. Once per shift, they inspected all production modules to check for possible gas leaks.
All scaffolding on the platforms was inspected every 14 days, and the department participated in functional testing of automated fire-extinguishing equipment and shutdown functions. It also turned out for all alarms, investigated each of them and reported.
Oil spills on the platform and in the sea, gas leaks, fires, damage to equipment, injury to personnel and near-misses also had to be reported. The department was duty-bound to investigate all accidents and follow them up with measures.
Safety department personnel also took part whenever the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), the Norwegian Maritime Directorate (NMD) or Helikopter Service carried out inspections.