Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS)


Following the Deepwater Horizon/Macondo catastrophe in the year 2010 it became clear that substantial improvements were needed to offshore safety management in the United States. The framework of a new rule was already available as API RP 75 - Development of a Safety and Environmental Management Program for Offshore Operations and Facilities (SEMP). This standard was used as the basis of what became the SEMS (Safety and Environmental Management Systems) rule and the subsequent SEMS II.


The Safety and Environmental Management System rule applies to oil and gas operations in U.S. waters. It is administered by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). The rule holds the facility accountable for the overall safety of the offshore facility. This includes ensuring that all contractors and subcontractors have safety policies and procedures in place that support the implementation of the operator's program. (In many other nations offshore safety is managed through the use of Safety Cases, discussed in our ebook on the topic.)

Process Safety Management (PSM)

SEMS is similar to onshore Process Safety Management (PSM) programs and is organized in a similar manner. The elements of the management program are:

  • General
  • Safety and Environmental Information
  • Hazards Analysis
  • Management of Change
  • Operating Procedures
  • Safe Work Practices
  • Training
  • Assurance of Quality and Mechanical Integrity
  • Pre-Startup Review
  • Emergency Response and Control
  • Investigation of Incidents
  • Audit of Safety and Environmental
  • Records and Documentation.


Further information to do with this topic and the management of offshore safety can be found in the book Offshore Safety Management and the ebooks Safety and Environmental Management Systems and Implementing SEMS.

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