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Stricter safety rules set for offshore drilling

Keywords: Tags  offshore drilling, safety rules, Interior Department, Bureau of Safety and Environment, Deepwater Horizon, Jim Watson, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — Stricter safety rules for offshore drilling have been set by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

The rules, which come into effect June 4, with drillers required to comply by June 4, 2014, mandate that all safety audits be conducted by a third party; make "any and all personnel" responsible to stop work when there is "imminent risk or danger;" and clearly define who is responsible for safety on drilling vessels "at any given time."

The increased safety measures come three years after the Deepwater Horizon drill rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which killed 11 crew members and caused the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

"Offshore oil and gas safety starts with a robust positive safety culture, and BSEE’s workplace safety rules are designed to promote that culture by eliminating complacency and making sure that companies are looking at the human factors that underlie too many accidents," BSEE director Jim Watson said.

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