Posts Tagged ‘incident data’

Among the more important workstreams of the International Regulators’ Forum, a group of offshore safety regulators, are country performance data which provide a means of measuring and comparing offshore safety performance internationally. As we near the midpoint of 2023, the last data posted are for 2020. This lag makes it difficult to assess current trends and risks.

In addition to more timely updates, there are significant holes in the IRF data sets. For example, per IRF guidelines fatalities associated with illnesses or “natural causes” are not counted; nor are helicopter incidents that are not in the immediate vicinity of an offshore facility. Also, incidents associated with geophysical surveys, many pipeline segments, and (inexplicably) subsea wells and structures are excluded (see excerpts below).

Excerpts from IRF Performance Measurement Guidelines:

  • Exclude Geophysical and Geotechnical surveying and support vessel operations not directly associated with activities at an Offshore Installation
  • Exclude horizontal components associated with incoming and outgoing pipelines and flowlines beyond either the first flange at the seabed near an Offshore Installation or a 500 meter radius, whichever is less.
  • Exclude helicopter operations at or near an Offshore Installation
  • Exclude mobile or floating Offshore Installations being transported to or from the offshore location.
  • Exclude subsea wells and structures.
  • Do not include Fatalities and Injuries that are self-inflicted.
  • Do not include Occupational Illnesses in Fatality or Injury counts.
  • Do not include fatalities that are due to natural causes.

Perhaps the IRF can consider these and other data collection and publication issues at their next conference. Because voluntary incident reporting schemes have always suffered from incomplete or selective reporting, the regulators have to drive incident data collection and transparency.

Parallel US concerns about offshore incident data: After a review of BSEE fatality data provided in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, WWNO reported that “nearly half of known offshore worker fatalities in the Gulf of Mexico from 2005 to 2019 didn’t fit BSEE’s reporting criteria.” They noted that 24 of the 83 known offshore worker fatalities during that period were classified as “non-occupational.” (As previously posted, the rash of “natural cause” deaths (12) at Gulf of Mexico facilities in 2021 and 2022 is particularly troubling and warrants further investigation.)

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The New York Times calls out the CDC for not releasing Covid data:

Kristen Nordlund, a spokeswoman for the C.D.C., said the agency has been slow to release the different streams of data “because basically, at the end of the day, it’s not yet ready for prime time.” She said the agency’s “priority when gathering any data is to ensure that it’s accurate and actionable.”

Another reason is fear that the information might be misinterpreted, Ms. Nordlund said.

“The C.D.C. is a political organization as much as it is a public health organization,” said Samuel Scarpino, managing director of pathogen surveillance at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Pandemic Prevention Institute. “The steps that it takes to get something like this released are often well outside of the control of many of the scientists that work at the C.D.C.”

BOE and others interested in offshore safety have expressed similar frustration over delays in the release of incident data and reports by BSEE and the Coast Guard, and the limited inspection data that are publicly available. As is the case with the CDC, we suspect these issues have more to do with bureaucratic obstacles than technical limitations or staff reluctance.

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