BSEE exercises safety and environmental enforcement functions in the following areas:
The BSEE, or its authorized representative, may evaluate or visit the facility to determine whether the SEMS II program is in place, addresses all elements and is effective in doing all of the following:
The BSEE, or its authorized representative, may evaluate any and all aspects of the SEMS II program as outlined in the SEMS II rule. These evaluations or visits may be random and may be based upon the operator’s performance or that of the contractors.
For the evaluations, you need to make the following available to BSEE upon request:
During the site visit BSEE may verify the following:
BSEE Cites Offshore Operators for Failure to Complete Safety and Environmental Management System Audits
WASHINGTON - Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno cited 12 offshore operators for their failure to demonstrate compliance with the Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) requirements of the Workplace Safety Rule, 30 CFR Subpart S. The SEMS requirements were put in place in October 2010, following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Per the regulations, offshore operators were required to complete an initial SEMS audit by November 15, 2013.
"An effective, fully implemented SEMS program is essential to reducing risks across offshore operations," said Director Salerno. “BSEE must be assured that companies are addressing the key elements of SEMS and that they are not needlessly putting their workers and the environment at risk. We will vigorously enforce compliance with this fundamental requirement."
BSEE inspectors travel offshore every day conducting all types of inspections to promote safety and ensure compliance with federal regulations covering oil and gas operations. The table below provides an example of the types of inspections conducted by BSEE.
In addition to regular audits, the BSEE may direct you to have an ASP audit of the SEMS II program if BSEE identifies safety or non-compliance concerns based on:
If BSEE directs you to have an ASP audit:
You should submit an audit report of the audit findings, observations, deficiencies identified, and conclusions to BSEE within 60 days of the audit completion date.
If BSEE conducts the audit, BSEE will provide you with a report of the audit findings, observations, deficiencies identified, and conclusions as soon as practicable.
If BSEE determines that the SEMS II program is not in compliance with the SEMS II rule we may initiate one or more of the following enforcement actions:
The OCS Lands Act authorizes and requires the Bureau to provide for both an annual scheduled inspection and a periodic unscheduled (unannounced) inspection of all oil and gas operations on the outer continental shelf. The annual inspection examines all safety equipment designed to prevent blowouts, fires, spills, or other major accidents.
Potential Incident of Noncompliance (PINC) – Checklist items which BSEE inspects to pursue safe operations on the Outer Continental Shelf. This list of inspection items is derived from all regulations for safety and environmental standards.
Categorized Lists may be viewed here.
Incident of Noncompliance (INC) – If an inspector finds a violation of BSEE regulations as they are outlined in the PINC checklists, the Bureau Inspector issues an Incident of Noncompliance (INC) citation to the operator.
Depending on the severity of the violation, the inspector can declare either a Warning or Shut-In INC.
Reviewing officers always review the following for potential civil penalties:
Once a letter is issued to a violator assessing a proposed civil penalty, the violator has 30 days from receipt of the letter to schedule a meeting and submit information, or pay the penalty.
At the end of 30 days, the BSEE Reviewing Officer issues a decision on the amount of any final civil penalty. This decision can be appealed to the Interior Board of Land Appeals.
Currently, the maximum civil penalty rate for Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) violations is $40,000 per violation per day. The rate is adjusted at least once every three years by the Interior Secretary to reflect any increase in the Consumer Price Index prepared by the U.S. Department of Labor. It was most recently increased in June 2011.
BSEE Issues Incident of Non-Compliance for Lack of Adequate Supervision and Allowing Hazardous Work Areas
BSEE inspectors recently completed a District Investigation that examined a crane incident which took place in late February 2012 during drilling operations. From the investigation, the BSEE inspectors determined that a blocked walkway in the vicinity of the operation and an inexperienced rigger whose job it was to guide and secure the casing as it was being moved by the crane were contributing causes of the accident. (BSEE Enforcement Newsletter, 2nd Qtr., FY 2012)
BSEE Completes Unannounced Spill Drill Testing Gulf of Mexico Operator
On February 19, 2014, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) completed an unannounced oil spill response exercise. The exercise occurred in BSEE’s Gulf of Mexico Region and included the deployment of response equipment. The purpose of BSEE’s spill exercises is to determine if an operator can effectively respond to an emergency using its Oil Spill Response Plan.
BSEE Oil Spill Response Division Chief David Moore commented, "this exercise allowed us to test preparedness to implement key components of the response plan as well as provide an opportunity for our Federal and State partner agencies to participate and observe.”
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