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Safety

Reforms haven’t made offshore drilling safer, report finds

by Jeff Johnson, special to C&EN
April 18, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 16

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Credit: U.S. Coast Guard
Regulatory oversight is inadequate to prevent another disaster like the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion, a CSB report warns.
Credit: U.S. Coast Guard
Regulatory oversight is inadequate to prevent another disaster like the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion, a CSB report warns.

Regulatory changes enacted after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster are inadequate to protect workers, reduce risk, and prevent similar future offshore accidents, says a new report by the Chemical Safety Board. A “culture of minimal regulatory compliance continues to exist in the Gulf and risk reduction continues to prove elusive,” the report says. The Deepwater Horizon accident killed 11 workers and caused the biggest oil spill in the history of offshore drilling. CSB investigators found that the responsible companies had corporate risk management policies more rigorous than what is required by regulation, but they did not implement them. New regulatory changes still fail to place the onus on industry to proactively reduce risk or empower regulators to prevent another disaster, the report says. A “cultural shift” in oversight and new tools to evaluate and monitor safety performance, including “meaningful worker participation,” are needed, the report says. The report still needs to be approved by the full CSB, which will vote on it later this month. It marks the third and final CSB report on the accident.

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