The Safety Case Regulations (SCRs) came into being because Lord Cullen perceived them as being one of the means by which tragedies like the sequence of events that took place aboard Piper Alpha on 6 July 1988 could be prevented from recurrence The Regulations drew on major hazard experience learned onshore, and introduced a new safety concept to the offshore world All activities of, on or in connection with offshore installations will have to be taken account of m those installations safety cases, and each safety case will require information to be supplied to the installation by any contractor working in connection with it and to that contractor by the installation, for risk assessment purposes Identification of a core of standard information pertinent to diving activities which would be acceptable for all installation safety cases proved to be one of the first tasks imposed by the SCRs
The most identifiable result of the enquiry held by Lord Cullen into the tragic event aboard the offshore installation Piper Alpha on 6 July 1988 is the requirement for operators owners of all offshore installations to submit a safety case A similar requirement has been exacted for the control of major hazards onshore since 1984 under the Control of Industrial Major Hazards Regulations 1984 (CIMAH) These regulations and the European Directive which they implemented were a response to major onshore accidents which took place m the 1970s, particularly the Flixborough accident in 1974 and the Seveso disaster which happened m Italy in 1976 Both the Safety Case Regulations (SCRs) and the CIMAH Regulations require the operator/owners of any installation which deals with major hazards to submit a safety report to the Health and Safety Executive The report must put a positive case m support of the contention that the operation of the plant is safe, and it is the means by which the installations management is able to demonstrate to itself that the operation is safe.
Because of the particular problems associated with the offshore environment, namely, the variety of related hazardous activities, the difficulties of obtaining external help m dealing with emergencies and the problems of evacuating personnel to a place of safety, the offshore safety case submission, unlike the CIMAH submission, is required to be formally accepted by the Health and Safety Executive.
The SCRs quite rightly place great emphasis on managements responsibility to have a system for the management of safety on the installation. This emphasis was being encouraged by the Diving Inspectorate in respect of offshore diving operations even before Lord Cullen produced has report not as a result of second guessing the outcome of the enquiry but more as a natural development of the Inspectorates assessment of trends within the diving industry
In the seventies, many of the problems with offshore diving were associated with equipment faults As experience was gamed by all parties, the Inspectorate, the diving industry, the oil industry and the workforce established standards of equipment which reduced the number of accidents directly attributable to equipment problems