Enforcement

Pursuant to legislation, the Board is responsible for enforcing provisions of the Act and the regulations made under it. Implementation and enforcement is accomplished through Safety or Conservation Officers who perform various duties of auditing, compliance monitoring, inspection and investigation to monitor compliance with the Act and the regulations. A description of the powers of the Chief Safety Officer and Safety Officers and key compliance and enforcement tools is provided below:

  • Chief Safety Officer and Safety Officers
  • Safety Audits and Safety Inspections
  • Orders
  • Investigations
  • Work Refusals

Chief Safety Officer and Safety Officers

Pursuant to the legislation, the Board appoints the Chief Safety Officer and recommends to Ministers appointments of Safety Officers. The Chief Safety Officer is responsible for enforcing the health and safety provisions in the Acts for the safety and the protection of workers in the offshore area. The Chief Safety Officer can shut down an operation in whole or in part when there are reasonable grounds to believe there is a condition that is likely to cause serious bodily injury. Furthermore, the Chief Safety Officer can require an operator to establish a code of practice in respect of occupational health and safety, or to adopt a code of practice in respect of occupational health and safety that is specified by the Chief Safety Officer, in respect of any of its workplaces or any work or activity carried out at any of its workplaces, or the transportation of employees to or from any of its workplaces.

Safety Officers are responsible for monitoring Operators’ compliance with safety requirements and the effectiveness of their management systems. They conduct inspections and audits of offshore petroleum related activities to monitor compliance to safety and occupational health and safety legislative requirements or conditions of authorization. They can order an operation to cease where there is a situation likely to result in serious bodily injury. In conducting these activities, the powers of Safety Officers include the ability to:

  • Enter any place on land or offshore used in connection with any work or activity;
  • Test, examine or inquire or direct another to perform these tasks;
  • Take photographs and make drawings;
  • Require the production of books, records, etc., for inspection or copying;
  • Take samples; and
  • Require individuals with knowledge relevant to the inspection to furnish information orally or in writing.

Safety Audits and Safety Inspections

A safety audit is a systematic evaluation of all aspects of an operation to monitor compliance with regulatory requirements related to safety and risk management and the safety commitments made by the Operator in obtaining their authorization to conduct work. The aim of the audit is to monitor the compliance of the Operator and various Employers represented with the regulations and the Operator’s safety commitments. Safety audits also review the Operator’s and Employers’ efforts in correcting and preventing reoccurrences of instances of non-compliance or incidents. Safety audits may include the reviewing or copying of documentation and records, obtaining samples, interviews with personnel, verification of the quality of information reported to the C-NLOPB, inspection of equipment or other physical aspects of an operation, observation of operations, verification of qualifications and training of personnel and verification that the Operator and Employers have appropriately addressed incidents of non-compliance.

A safety inspection involves the physical presence of a Safety Officer at an operation. An inspection is normally part of the audit, but can be conducted separately from an audit and may incorporate some or all of the activities that are normally conducted during an audit. C-NLOPB safety inspections are not detailed inspections or surveys of equipment, structures or facilities. The Operator, installation owner, specialized third party contractors and the Certifying Authority complete these detailed inspections and surveys. The C-NLOPB reviews the extent and effectiveness of the Operator and Certifying Authority processes to understand if those processes thoroughly and systematically verify equipment and address deficiencies in a timely manner as that is the responsibility of the Operator. Members of the Workplace Committee may accompany the Safety Officer during a safety inspection.

During a safety audit, C-NLOPB Safety Officers can raise a non-compliance against anything that does not conform to the Operator’s or Employers’ safety management policies and procedures or to legislative requirements. There are two types of non-compliances:

  • Observation - A statement of fact related to a non-compliance made during a safety audit or safety inspection and substantiated by objective evidence.
  • Finding - A conclusion substantiated by one or more observations, which highlights significant issues with the implementation of the Operator’s safety management policies and procedures, adherence to legislative requirements and/or any non-compliance that has significant implications for safety.

Following the issuance of an audit report, an Operator – and, in the case of Part III.1 items, any other relevant employer – has 15 working days to provide an action and timeframe that is acceptable to the C-NLOPB. The Operator/employer must take action to address non-compliances within the agreed timeframe. Failure to comply within that timeframe could result in an order to comply or, depending on the seriousness, could constitute an offence under the Act.

Orders

  • Order to Comply

  • An Order to Comply is a direction from a Safety Officer or the Chief Safety Officer directing or ordering a person to correct a deficiency that is causing or has caused a compliance issue and which could constitute an offense. An Order to Comply may be issued when it appears a person is ignoring or slow to respond to a non-compliance or other non-compliance. An Order to Comply will be issued in writing and will include the reference to the section of the Act or regulation giving rise to the noncompliance, the reasons for issuing the Order to Comply, the conditions that must be complied with and where applicable, the process available to appeal the instruction. Failure to comply with an order of a Safety Officer or Chief Safety Officer is an offence under the Acts.

  • Order Respecting Dangerous Situation

  • Pursuant to legislation, where the Chief Safety Officer or a Safety Officer is of the opinion that the continuation of an operation is likely to result in serious injury, then an “Order Respecting Dangerous Situation” may be issued. In this event, the Chief Safety Officer or Safety Officer may order that the operation cease or be continued under specified conditions. Once issued, Orders must be posted in prominent locations throughout the installation. Further information on the issuance and the appeal of these orders are contained within Sections 193 and 205.093 of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act.

    Investigations

    Operators and Employers are required to investigate all reportable incidents and submit a report to the Board (refer to Reporting and Investigation of Incidents). However, the legislation also provides the ability for the C-NLOPB to conduct an investigation into any occurrence under its jurisdiction. Thus, where Board staff suspect a violation of the legislation or receives a report of an incident, the Chief Safety Officer or Chief Conservation Officer may initiate an investigation. Investigations could also be initiated in the event that Board staff was not satisfied with an Operator’s investigation report.

    If an investigation by C-NLOPB staff is required, the Chief Safety Officer and/or the Chief Conservation Officer will:

    1. notify the Operator of the investigation;
    2. request immediate transportation to the location; and
    3. will order the Operator to ensure that the scene is preserved and secured at all times, subject to attending to damage control and medical response necessary to prevent further damage, injury or death.

    Depending on the nature of the incident, Board Staff may need to coordinate their efforts with other agencies. Agencies that may become involved in an investigation include:

    • Canadian Coast Guard
    • Service NL, Occupational Health and Safety Branch
    • Royal Canadian Mounted Police
    • Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
    • Transportation Safety Board
    • Transport Canada (Marine Safety and Aviation Branches)
    • Environment Canada

    The C-NLOPB conducts investigations for root cause or in consideration for potential prosecution for offences under the Acts. During a C-NLOPB investigation, Officers will review the causation of and factors contributing to the incident or suspected violation. Evidence collected under a warrant during a C-NLOPB investigation may be used as evidence to support a prosecution.

    Work Refusals

    Pursuant to the legislation, workers on offshore marine installations or structures have the right to refuse any task which they believe is dangerous to their health and safety, or the health and safety of another person at the workplace or in a passenger craft. Where a worker has exercised his or her right to refuse and the matter is not remedied to the satisfaction of the worker the matter shall be brought to the attention of the Offshore Workplace Committee or Coordinator and reported to a C-NLOPB Safety Officer. If the committee is unable to resolve the matter, the matter will be investigated by a Safety Officer who has the authority to order a resolution. A person may refuse the work until either they are satisfied with the remedial action taken by the employer or a Safety Officer has investigated the matter and has rendered a decision.

    A worker can report a work refusal either in writing or orally to a Safety Officer. The proper sequence for exercising this right is as follows:

    1. report the task being refused to the supervisor with the reason for the refusal, in terms of why they believe there is a safety or health risk;
    2. supervisor provided with the opportunity to resolve concerns;
    3. if concern is not remedied by the supervisor to the satisfaction of the worker, then report to the Workplace Committee for remediation (the Operator notifies the C-NLOPB at this point that a refusal has occurred);
    4. the Committee is provided with the opportunity to resolve concerns;
    5. if concern is not remedied by the Committee to the satisfaction of the worker, then a C-NLOPB Safety Officer will be requested to investigate the issue;
    6. a C-NLOPB Safety Officer conducts an investigation and renders a decision; and
    7. the employer and/or worker must abide by the decision.

    Employers, Operators and unions shall not take any reprisal against a worker for exercising his or her right to refuse.