Challenges in HSE’s KP4 report

9 June 2014

HSE’s Key Programme 4 (KP4) examines how well duty holders are managing the ageing and life extension (ALE) of offshore facilities. The KP4 report, published in May 2014, covers the period 2010-13 during which 33 duty holders were inspected across 10 different topics, using structured templates – so there is plenty of evidence from which to learn.

The report is structured around these 10 Topics, highlighting both Strengths and Areas for Additional Focus, based on the overall findings. An Appendix contains 5 Case Studies, each describes in more detail how a duty holder tackled a specific issue – Structural Integrity, Process Safety, Hydrocarbon Leak Reduction, etc. 

Life Extension (i.e. continued operation beyond the original design life) is closely linked to Asset Integrity Management (AIM) – the focus of the earlier KP3 inspection programme so, not surprisingly, HSE found a good number of Strengths across the UK sector, including a high level of positive engagement and industry-leading ALE practices. But there are about as many Areas for additional focus, and the report makes 11 general recommendations for industry and 4 for HSE itself.

Of course, the effective management of ALE (and AIM) is not an issue unique to the UK offshore sector, and there are references and links (p 14) to relevant work by other offshore and onshore regulators.

What does this mean for me?

Some suggested actions for OSH professionals, whether working in UK offshore sector or another jurisdiction:

  1. Read the full report for yourself – it’s not too long (47 pages).
  2. Consider how the organisation(s) you advise matches up against the listed Strengths and Areas for Additional Focus for each Topic.
  3. If there are significant differences (stronger or weaker), what are/might be the causes? If weaker, what needs to change? If stronger, how could that help others to improve?
  4. For a more robust assessment from which a prioritised internal action plan could be developed, involve a representative group and concentrate particularly on areas where opinions differ, as learning from each other is a vital step towards a more uniform organisational ALE/AIM culture. (And perhaps also to discuss how these two areas link and/or are different?).
  5. Are your Strengths truly sustainable, or over-dependent on individuals who may move elsewhere? How do you ensure new employees learn about the lessons from KP4? (some possible tools are available via the KPA webpage – the first link above).

Ian Waldram, CFIOSH
June 2014