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SEMS II BSEE Evaluation

BSEE Inspections

How BSEE Enforcement Works

BSEE exercises safety and environmental enforcement functions in the following areas:

  • OCS operations
  • permitting
  • inspections and investigations
  • enforcement
  • penalties
  • research

BSEE Evaluation of the SEMS

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:

  • protecting worker safety and health
  • protecting the environment
  • preventing incidents

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.

How BSEE Enforcement Works (Continued)

For the evaluations, you need to make the following available to BSEE upon request:

  • written SEMS II program
  • audit team’s qualifications
  • SEMS II audits conducted of the program
  • documents or information relevant to whether you have addressed and corrected the deficiencies of the audit
  • other relevant documents or information

During the site visit BSEE may verify the following:

  • personnel are following the SEMS II program
  • you can explain and demonstrate the procedures and policies included in the SEMS II program
  • you can produce evidence to support the implementation of the SEMS II program

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."

Types of BSEE Inspections

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.

Additional BSEE Evaluations


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:

  • results of their inspections and evaluations
  • result of an event
  • BSEE may conduct an audit

If BSEE directs you to have an ASP audit:

  • You are responsible for all of the costs associated with the audit.
  • The ASP should meet the requirements of 250.1920 and 250.1921 of the SEMS II rule.

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.

BSEE Review

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:

  • issue an Incident(s) of Noncompliance (INC)
  • assess civil penalties
  • initiate probationary or disqualification procedures from serving as an OCS operator

BSEE Inspections

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.

BSEE Inspections (Continued)

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.

  • Warning: A warning INC is issued if the violation is not considered to be severe or threatening. The violation must be corrected within a reasonable amount of time as specified on the INC.
  • Component Shut-in: A component shut-in INC is issued when a violation is considered severe or threatening. The operator must shut-in the component or piece of equipment that is in violation. The violation must be corrected before the operator is allowed to continue the activity in question.
  • Facility Shut-in: A facility shut-in INC is issued when a violation is considered severe or threatening to the safety of personnel or the environment. The operator must shut-in the entire facility. The violation must be corrected before the operator is allowed to re-start facility operations.

BSEE Inspections (Continued)

Reviewing officers always review the following for potential civil penalties:

  • violations not corrected within the period of time BSEE identifies
  • violations that cause or may pose a threat of serious, irreparable, or immediate harm or damage to life, property, or the environment

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)

Real-Life Scenario

drill test

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.”


Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) exercises enforcement functions in all of the following areas, except _____.

2. When BSEE arrives for a site visit, they may verify all of the following, except _____.

3. When BSEE issues a facility shut-in INC, the operator must shut-in the entire facility and the violation must be corrected _____.

4. When BSEE issues a component shut-in INC, the violation must be corrected _____.

5. Currently, the maximum civil penalty rate for Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) violations is _____ per violation per day.

Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.