PSA study reveals the effect of supervision

Source: press release, 6 February 2020

Conducted at the end of 2019, this broad overall study sought to obtain feedback from the industry and information on the effect of the PSA’s supervisory activities
Conducted at the end of 2019, this broad overall study sought to obtain feedback from the industry and information on the effect of the PSA’s supervisory activities (photo: PSA)

A new user survey has investigated the impact of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) on safety work at the companies. “It indicates that we play an important role in reducing major accident risk and strengthening company work on a preventive working environment,” says Ingvill Hagesæther Foss, one of the PSA’s directors of supervision.

Conducted at the end of 2019, this broad overall study sought to obtain feedback from the industry and information on the effect of the PSA’s supervisory activities.

“Responses to the questionnaire indicate that our presence in the industry makes a substantial contribution to reducing the risk of major accidents and to strengthening company efforts to build a preventive working environment,” explains Hagesæther Foss. “These represents two key goals for us. We’ll continue to work for improvements here.”

Great trust
The survey showed that no less than 96% of the PSA’s company contacts and 79% of chief safety delegates at the enterprises have great or very great trust in the authority. Most are also satisfied over their dialogue with the PSA, its expertise and the way it conducts audits.

“It’s also clear that the industry experiences many different aspects of our work as relevant, such as information on our website, our seminars, and meetings with us on specific issues,” says Hagesæther Foss. “Although audits are key part of our assignment, we also devote a lot of work to other activities. It’s clear that this plays a significant role.”

Effect of supervision
Part of the study covered measures taken by companies after PSA audits. Responses here show that the majority take action in those parts of the enterprise directly affected by the audit. However, more variety is seen with regard to applying such measures to other parts of the business as well.

“The extent to which the effect of these measures is assessed also differs. It’s demanding, but important, to check that they actually have the intended outcome,” says Hagesæther Fos. She notes that the PSA will continue to follow up in 2020 that action planned is in fact implemented.

Respondents also vary in their answers when asked whether the PSA’s supervision is consistent – and the treatment they receive is equal across its supervisory teams. But the vast majority say that it ensures consistency and equal treatment to some, a great or a very great extent.

More information about this is obtained by the PSA from the ongoing survey being sent to a company after it has been audited. Findings from this exercise will be available during the second quarter.

Role of safety delegates
A new feature of the latest overall survey is that chief safety delegates have also been included. These are rather more critical than the PSA’s company contacts about improvement work by their own employer.

“That might be because they have less overview of improvement work in their own company,” suggests Hagesæther Foss. “But it shows first and foremost that the safety delegates have an important role in providing an overall picture of the position.”

The biggest difference between feedback from the company contacts and the chief safety delegates is that the latter are far more interested in clear guidance from and detailed control by the authorities. That accords with comments received from employee representatives in other contexts.

Work on the survey was conducted in November and December 2019. A total of 56 responses were received from company contacts and 102 from chief safety delegates in the companies. That represented response rates of 82% and 59% respectively.