Commercial work on and around oil rigs requires an attention to safety no matter where the action takes place, and this always demands acknowledgment of the environment. As the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement continues to target operational safety, one of its areas of focus is the Arctic. Low temperatures and concerns for worker fatigue all point to the necessity for standardized policies.

"The Bureau met recently to acknowledge this effort, which also involves the Alaska Regional Response Team."

Part of this requires proper emergency planning, as well. Offshore Engineer recently reported that the BSEE is working on an oil spill resource database that presents searchable information on materials used to help take care of spills. Though the article gives no timeline for the project's completion, it does state that the Bureau met recently to acknowledge this effort, which also involves the Alaska Regional Response Team.

Last month, a report from the International Labor Organization referenced a similar Arctic resource: the Worldwide Offshore Accident Database, which culls data from nearly 40 years of offshore accidents. Most of these (44 percent) are relatively low level "incidents/hazardous situations," but 39 percent accounted for accidents that cause serious injuries or even fatalities.

"While there are some international and/or industry standards that may be applicable generally to operations in the Arctic, there are few standards that apply specifically to Arctic operations," the report states. "There is no single authority or organization to comprehensively address specific OSH standards in the Arctic," it adds.

In addition to the dangers posed by compromised workers, the source also notes the hazards of aging facilities, where accidents aren't reported and the need for crucial maintenance tasks goes ignored.

Companies with experience in the marine industry may offer oil and energy firms unique policies for ensuring performance. Since the BSEE's enforcement efforts are set to continue, firms may prefer to focus on increased safety measures for their facilities, equipment and workers.

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