Inspection policy open for comment
The Regulator I Issue 3 I October 2021
From 1 January 2022, NOPSEMA is adopting a new approach to its inspections, striking a balance between undertaking regular inspections of all facilities and activities with more frequent inspections of facilities and activities posing a higher risk or likelihood of non-compliance.
The frequency and focus of NOPSEMA’s inspections will be driven by the inherent and emerging risks to people, the environment, well integrity and compliance. A duty holder’s compliance history, attitude, and behaviour will also be considered in addition to strategic factors, external pressures, and latent risks.
To assist the industry in understanding NOPSEMA’s new approach, and what to expect, a revised inspection policy has been published for comment on NOPSEMA’s consultation hub. Interested stakeholders are encouraged to review the policy and provide comment by no later than COB Tuesday, 26 October.
The policy sets out a baseline, or minimum frequency for inspections. It also lists a variety of risk-factors that will drive more frequent inspections, such as the complexity of the activity and the stage of life of the asset. The policy also reinforces the provision of formal conclusions in NOPSEMA’s inspection reports. Conclusions aim to ensure NOPSEMA’s findings and observations are communicated more clearly.
Where an inspection conclusion relates to a non-compliance, and NOPSEMA is reasonably satisfied the duty holder can and will address the matter in a timely manner without NOPSEMA’s intervention, then NOPSEMA will request details from the duty holder about the actions that have or will be taken to address the non-compliance.
Where an inspection conclusion relates to serious non-compliance, immediate threat, or significant risk, it is NOPSEMA’s policy to consider enforcement action. If appropriate, inspection recommendations will be provided to support improved safety outcomes.
Duty holders will continue to be accountable for managing the risks that they create and must address any issues or non-compliance identified through a NOPSEMA inspection in a timely manner. In the next issue of The Regulator, NOPSEMA will provide more information on what to expect from a NOPSEMA inspection in 2022.