New inspection policy published
Following the consideration of public comment, NOPSEMA has finalised and published its new Inspection policy. The new policy outlines an improved approach to the inspection of offshore petroleum facilities and activities operating in Commonwealth waters commencing 1 January 2022.
While NOPSEMA has always strived to be a world-class regulator, recent events including the COVID-19 pandemic, the decommissioning of the Northern Endeavour, and the Australian Government’s deregulation agenda has prompted NOPSEMA to improve its approach to inspections so that it can remain effective.
The improved approach seeks to balance the regular inspection of all facilities and activities with the need to have resources available to undertake more frequent inspections of facilities and activities posing a higher risk or likelihood of non-compliance.
NOPSEMA has set out a baseline, or minimum frequency, for inspections in the new policy. The policy 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 improved approach does not change the fact that duty holders continue to be responsible for managing and reducing the OHS, well integrity and environmental management, risks that they create.
A key improvement is the provision of formal conclusions in NOPSEMA’s inspection reports. These conclusions will clearly communicate NOPSEMA’s inspection findings and observations. For many conclusions, a duty holder will need to report to NOPSEMA the details of any actions they have or will take to address the identified non-compliance. If a conclusion identifies a serious non-compliance, immediate threat, or significant risk, then NOPSEMA will consider enforcement action
To ensure the offshore workforce understands the improved approach, and the role they will play during NOPSEMA’s inspections, NOPSEMA has also published a brochure about what to expect from an inspection.