Safety performance on the UK continental shelf is normally of a high standard, although there are still many “minor” accidents. However, a comparative analysis reveals that major disasters in the North Sea have forced up fatality statistics, indicating that there is a need for improvement. The Cullen Report on the Piper Alpha disaster and the ensuing Safety Case Regulations are evaluated in light of safety performance. While the regulations are a major step in the right direction, apparently there are gaps in the provision. Such gaps cannot be filled solely by following the principles of total quality management. Problems with the regulations include the fundamental approach to public inquiries, the problems of objective versus prescriptive regulations, technological bias, the behaviour of management and management systems, communication problems, difficulties with quantitative risk assessment, key concepts within the regulations (ALARP and acceptance), change management, the nature of safety management systems and ignoring the natural environment.
Smallman, C. (1994), "Offshore Safety Management Systems: Current Practice and a Prescription for Change", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 33-48. https://doi.org/10.1108/09653569410065001Download as .RIS
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