Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

General Oil and Gas Safety Guidelines

Compliance with Standards

For offshore oil and gas drilling and production, the Department of the Interior (DOI), the Bureau of Safety and Environment (BSEE), American Petroleum Institute (API) and other organizations have developed standards and guidelines to make sure offshore company sites operate:

  • in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations
  • conform to industry best practices and standards
  • company policies and guiding principles

The company should design develop and deploy a BSEE Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS II) Program. The program should address the 17 elements of an effective SEMS II Program and the standards detailed in the API’s Recommended Practice for Development of a Safety and Environmental Management Program for Offshore Operations and Facilities (API RP 75).

Note: The SEMS II Rule became effective on June 4, 2013. Operators have until June 4, 2014 to comply with the provisions of the SEMS II Rule, except for the auditing requirements. All SEMS II audits should be in compliance with the SEMS II Rule by June 4, 2015.

In this module, we will be covering general safety best practices applicable to all oil and gas facilities.

Safety Communications

manual lift

Good communication is critical to safety on platforms. There should be several methods for workers to communicate while offshore. These options include:

  • Voice communication public address (PA) system. The PA system should not be abused or used for anything other than company-specific information. Music or other non-company business should not be allowed.
  • Alarm signals to signal emergency conditions, such as a fire.

When using the PA:

  • For any operation where line of sight by the equipment operator cannot be maintained with workers or material, a repeat-back system of communication should be used.

Management of Change (MOC)

Management of Change - Moxie Media

Management of Change (MOC) is a formal set of procedures that address process-related or mechanical-related modifications of a facility and the safe management of change.

MOC ensures that changes are recognized, documented, formally reviewed, and approved before being implemented to avoid potential safety, environmental and operational problems.

In accordance with BSEE requirements, companies should design, develop and deploy a Management of Change (MOC) program to effectively manage changes to the organization and its related systems, procedures, equipment, products, materials, substances, processes, and people.

The MOC should include a facility-level hazards analysis and a task-level Job Safety Analysis (JSA) that is developed and implemented for all of the facilities and activities identified or discussed in the BSEE SEMS II.

Hazard Identification and Risk Analysis (HIRA)

As part of the company’s Management of Change (MOC) program, a Hazard Identification and Risk Analysis (HIRA) system should be fully designed, developed and deployed and encompass activities for identifying hazards and evaluating and controlling risk at offshore sites. The Job Safety analysis (JSA) is one activity within the HIRA process.

Quality Assurance and Mechanical Integrity

It is important that an effective Mechanical Integrity program is designed, developed and deployed to ensure that offshore oil platform equipment functions as required during its life in accordance with BSEE SEMS II (30 CFR 250.1916).

Written procedures that provide instructions should be developed to ensure the mechanical integrity and safe operation of equipment through:

  • inspection
  • testing
  • quality assurance

The mechanical integrity program should encompass all equipment and systems used to prevent or mitigate uncontrolled releases of:

  • hydrocarbons
  • toxic substances
  • other materials that may be harmful to the environment or safety

Asset Integrity and Reliability


Critical equipment used to process, store, or handle hydrocarbons or other hazardous chemicals and materials of construction at company facilities should be procured, inspected, tested, and maintained to:

  • minimize the occurrence of hazards that will jeopardize workers safety, environmental quality, or profitability of company operations
  • minimize uncontrolled releases of these substances

Preventative Maintenance (PM) Programs should be designed, developed and deployed to ensure the reliability of critical equipment is maintained.

Area Designations


A company representative should determine area designations during the work permitting process and communicate these to those performing the work.

The representative should take in to account the potential hazards associated with each of these areas and the type of work being performed when issuing work permits.

Area designations can include:

  • Free or Non-process areas: Areas where there are no flammable or toxic atmosphere potentials.
  • Classified or Process areas: Areas where the potential exists for flammable and/or toxic atmospheres.
  • Radiographic areas: Areas where there are radioactive hazards due to equipment or work activities.
  • Mustering areas: Areas or gathering points, when emergency evacuation is required.
  • Restricted areas: Areas that are off-limits to workers unless they are authorized to enter.
  • Danger or Caution areas: Areas where temporary hazards exist due to operations or maintenance activities.
  • Explosives areas: Areas where there are explosive hazards due to equipment or work activities.

Permit-to-Work System

Permit to Work System - Reynolds Training Ltd.

The Permit to Work (PTW) system should be developed to manage higher risk task and activities.

All of the following should be included in the PTW system:

  • Duties and responsibilities for the PTW system should be developed.
  • Definitions should be developed to identify risk criteria for identifying which tasks and activities require a PTW.
  • Hazards and controls should be identified during the Job Safety Analysis (JSA) process and recorded on the PTW.
  • Training all personnel in the application of the PTW system.
  • Communicating the requirements and procedures of the PTW system through orientations and pre-task meetings.

Drilling and Service Platform General Best Practices


When working on drilling and service platforms:

  • Training: All personnel should be adequately trained on general and specific HSE requirements.
  • Contractors: The contractor should provide well-maintained equipment that has been properly inspected, maintained, and is in safe operating condition.
  • Verification: Prior to first use, verification by a competent person that equipment complies with all requirements stipulated by regulations, the manufacturer, and industry standards should be obtained.
  • Inspections: The contractor should conduct inspections of platforms as required by governmental agencies and/or regulations and immediately repair or replace any item found to be deficient.
    • Before a new service platform is used on company locations, a competent and authorized person and a company representative should conduct a formal safety inspection.
  • Communications: Contractors should provide the company with the latest BSEE and other regulatory agency inspection reports used to perform work for the company.
  • Housekeeping: Work areas, equipment, walkways, and buildings should be kept clean and orderly at all times.
  • Marine Debris: Strict observance of all environmental laws and restrictions pertinent to the local jurisdiction should be required. Throwing debris over the side of the platform should be strictly prohibited.

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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. Which of the following is a method for workers to communicate while offshore?

2. Critical equipment used to process, store, or handle hazardous chemicals and materials should be procured, inspected, tested, and maintained to _____.

3. All of the following should be included in the facility's Permit to Work (PTW) system, except _____.

4. When working on drilling and service platforms, _____ personnel should be adequately trained on general and specific HSE requirements.

5. Before a new service platform is used on company locations, a competent and authorized person and company representative should _____.

Have a great day!

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