The stark message came at the launch of the KP3 report - a major investigation carried out by the HSE's Aberdeen based Offshore Division into the safety and integrity of offshore installations and the equipment on them.
Speaking at the launch of the KP3 report, Health and Safety Commission Chair, Judith Hackitt said:
"The KP3 report is an incredibly thorough investigation into the integrity of the assets in the offshore industry and was wide ranging in its scope. Whilst the sector has co-operated fully with us over the last three years, there can be no mistaking our message to those in the board rooms of the oil and gas offshore companies - there is still much more to do and those in a position of leadership must ensure that systems, procedures and best practice is adopted to achieve the goal of the UK continental shelf becoming the safest offshore sector by 2010.
"The report highlights a number of examples of good practice, but there is still a need for better learning and sharing. There were wide variations in performance across the sector and within companies.
"In the light of the findings from the KP3 report, asset integrity will continue to be one of the main priorities for HSE's Offshore Division in 2008 and for the forseeable future, but it must also be clear that it is for the industry itself to show leadership and face up to its responsibility."
Ian Whewell, Head of HSE's Offshore Division added:
"To prevent major accidents it is vital that companies have effective process safety systems to ensure plant and equipment is properly maintained and working as intended. Our advice to the industry is clear - when looking at and testing systems and procedures on installations, companies must take an holistic approach and ensure that all those parts that need to work together to prevent a major incident do precisely that. This naturally applies to those parts of the process that are safety critical - but that does not mean that things that are not classified as safety critical should be ignored. In a major accident, degraded non safety critical plant or utility systems could seriously impact on the performance of safety critical plant."
"The report identified that significant improvements in the sector could be achieved without major capital expenditure but through better planning, improved training and clear statements of performance standards in testing and maintenance routines.
"The advantages of better safety in the sector are obvious. However, ensuring the offshore infrastructure is well maintained also makes good business sense as its not just the industry that benefits - the whole economy benefits and it will help ensure that there is a long term sustainable future for the offshore industry."
The KP3 investigation involved targeted inspections of nearly 100 offshore installations of all types, including fixed, manned and normally unattended isntallations, floating production, floating production storage and offloading vessels and mobile drilling rigs.
|•||Many senior managers are not making adequate use of integrity management data and are not giving ongoing maintenance sufficient priority;|
|•||The role of asset integrity and concept of barriers in major hazard risk control is not well understood.|
|•||Companies need better key indicators of performance available at the most senior management levels to inform decision-making and to focus resources. Many management-monitoring systems tend to be overly biased to occupational risk data at the expense of major hazard precursors.|
|•||Evidence of a decline in integrity performance which may hamper future field development and long term sustainability, with an adverse impact on morale in the workforce.|