Younger Introduces Bill To Improve Offshore Safety Regulations
November 30, 2011
(Halifax, NS) Liberal energy critic Andrew Younger introduced a bill on Tuesday requiring the government to begin work on creating a federal regulating body on offshore petroleum safety standards.
The new agency would take over safety duties from the Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and other provincial-federal offshore boards.
“Safety of workers in the offshore must be a priority for government as well as for the companies working in the offshore,” says Younger. “Experience around the world in offshore shows the value of an independent and dedicated offshore safety agency.”
Currently, offshore safety is monitored and regulated by competing boards in different provinces. The inquiry report into offshore helicopter safety in Newfoundland noted that the boards often lack the proper expertise to take on the safety role and that offshore safety has become goal oriented rather than strictly safety oriented.
The inquiry report recommends a new national, independent board, stating “the Safety Regulator should be separate and independent from all other components of offshore regulation and should stand alone, with safety being its only regulatory task.” The inquiry report noted that independent offshore safety regulators are already in place in other countries..
“Recently Nova Scotia’s own Auditor General noted his attempts to audit the Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board were stymied," says Younger. "The AG told Nova Scotians that as a result, he could not comment on the oversight of safety in the offshore.
Younger believes that situation is further evidence of the need for an independent agency to be responsible for safety in the highly dangerous offshore environment.
“I was disappointed to hear earlier this summer that the NDP Energy Minister had not even considered the recommendations of that inquiry. My hope is this bill will call the government to action on the issue of worker safety in the offshore.”