Precautionary principle improves safety

January 9, 2006, 13:40 CET

Automatic mustering of personnel to the lifeboats helps to improve safety on Statoil's platforms.

In order to avoid human error or mistaken assessments, Statoil has altered its routines in recent years in situations when the alarm sounds on its platforms.

A precautionary principle has been introduced whereby, until the extent of an incident is known, personnel without an emergency response role are to go to the lifeboats as a matter of routine.

The crew are then gathered together and ready for evacuation if circumstances deem that to be necessary.

"In an emergency, there must be no doubt whatsoever as to where personnel are to muster," says Tove Rørhuus, vice president for health, safety and the environment in the Exploration & Production Norway business area.

"We have decided that the lifeboats should always be the assembly point until the situation becomes clarified."

This solution means that there could be some times when mustering turns out in retrospect to have been unnecessary.

But Statoil has decided to do things this way to always be on the safe side in case a serious incident should occur.

If evacuation from a platform should be necessary, this must take place primarily by helicopter. If that is not possible,