The safety case regime as a control measure to major incident hazards was introduced to the oil and gas industry 3 decades ago following the Piper Alpha disaster. This study investigated the effectiveness of nonregulated safety cases within one oil and gas drilling company by determining its level of utilization and examining its impact on the risks of major incidents and other rig incidents.
The study design was cross sectional, retrospective and experimental. A questionnaire was administered, and the incident logs of 10 rigs were analyzed.
The majority of respondents indicated that they did not perceive a rig safety case as the most effective tool in reducing major incident risks. Also, although the majority had not read the complete safety case document, they perceived that safety cases were still needed in the drilling industry.
The level of utilization of nonregulated safety cases was evaluated to be below average. Furthermore, the evidence showed that safety cases did not reduce the risk of major incidents or other rig incidents. The information and the outcome of the research challenge the concept of having a nonregulated safety case as a best practice; this includes the onshore and offshore rigs that operate in the U.S.
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