The Danish Working Environment Authority (WEA) supervises the health and safety aspects of the offshore installations on the Danish Continental Shelf in the North Sea.

WEAs tasks

WEA has the jurisdiction regarding health and safety on offshore installations and for certain vessels related to the exploration and production of oil and gas. Offshore installations are facilities for exploration and production of oil and gas from beneath the seabed including subsea production wells

Safety includes the inherent safety of the installations and equipment on them (“process safety”), and safety at the workplace and at work (occupational safety). Health includes health conditions at the workplace and at work and other health conditions.

Regulatory tasks include:

  • Approval and permits in connection with the design, operation, modification and decommissioning of fixed offshore installations, etc. and in connection with operating and modification of mobile offshore installations,
  • Supervision of health and safety on offshore installations and certain vessels, operating in connection with exploration and production of oil and gas
  • Preparation of regulations on safety and health, including implementation of EU directives.

The WEA participates in national and international cooperation to obtain experience and to fulfil legislative and international obligations regarding health and safety offshore.

In the WEA the tasks above are performed by the Offshore Safety Unit

Approvals and permits

Before fabrication of a fixed offshore installation its overall design has to be approved by the WEA pursuant to section 27 of the Offshore Safety Act.

Before commencement of operation from a fixed offshore installation an operation permit must be obtained pursuant to section 28 of the Offshore Safety Act.

Similarly, a mobile offshore installation (drilling rig, accommodation platform or otherwise) must obtain an operating permit pursuant to section 28 of the Offshore Safety Act before it is used.

Health and Safety Case

To obtain a design approval or an operating permit the operator or other operating company shall produce a Health and Safety Case for the offshore installation, which sets out how health and safety risks have been assessed and reduced to a level that is as low as reasonable practicable (ALARP) regarding the design, construction and operation of the offshore installation.

The Health and Safety Case shall be updated if a significant change in the installation or in the operational environment is conducted.

Inspection of health and safety conditions

WEA monitors the compliance with the health and safety regulations by supervision of the offshore installations and the companies' offices onshore.

The inspections focus on the companies’ own control of the risks through their management systems for health and safety. In addition the inspections focus on the involvement of the employees in matters regarding health and safety.

Safety Organization

Offshore installations operating on the Danish Continental Shelf must have a safety organization which complies with the Danish regulations (for fixed installations, Executive Order 1504/2010, for mobile installations, Executive Order 1505/2010).

As part of the Safety Organization safety representatives are elected by the employees on the installation. The operator or other operating company appoints management representatives.

Safety representatives and management representatives work together, in safety groups and safety committees, to maintain and improve the health and safety conditions on the installations.

Members of the Safety Organization needs to be trained as specified in Executive Order 1506/2010.

Councils, Committees and Commissions

There is a number of commissions, etc. under the Offshore Safety Act with different purposes: The Accident Investigation Commission, which investigates accidents and incidents pertaining to health and safety, The Emergency Preparedness Committee, which is to assist the authorities in the coordination of rescue activities and control measures in case of major accidents on an offshore installation or when there is an essential danger of this and The Offshore Safety Council, which consist of representatives of the social partners and various authorities.

International cooperation

WEA participates in international cooperation in a number of areas relating to health, safety and environment on the offshore installations.

The WEA is involved in cooperation with its counterparts in the North-West European region through the North Sea Offshore Authorities Forum (NSOAF), bilaterally with Norway and the UK as well as participation in the Offshore Mechanical Handling Equipment Committee (OMHEC). The WEA also attends a global cooperation regarding health and safety through the International Regulators Forum (IRF).