Center for Offshore Safety Announces Accreditation Body Audit Results

August 14, 2020

The Center for Offshore Safety (COS) is pleased to announce that after a seven-month audit by the Bureau of Safety Environmental Enforcement’s (BSEE) contractor ICF International Inc., COS’s Accreditation Program received zero nonconformities among some 450 areas that were evaluated.

COS’s mission is to support companies involved in the oil and natural gas industry to develop, implement, and improve their Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS). One of the key ways that COS carries out this mission is through its accreditation of qualified Audit Service Providers (ASPs), who in turn, perform independent audits of offshore operators’ and contractors’ SEMS.  COS is also subject to regular, independent auditing to identify areas for improvement in its processes to assure credibility and rigor in its systems.

“We are constantly striving to find ways to improve our processes,” says COS Director Russell Holmes. “The rigor of BSEE’s audit and its findings tell us that COS’s Accreditation Program is doing well. The most important takeaways from the audit are the ideas for improvement provided by this independent perspective. We are committed to continuously building improvements into our program, to help us achieve the ultimate goal of safe and environmentally responsible offshore operations in the Gulf of Mexico.”

In 2012, COS published its first set of requirements concerning SEMS auditing and guidance on establishing, implementing, and maintaining SEMS. This effort was based on API Recommended Practice 75 for development of Offshore Safety and Environmental Management Program (API RP 75). COS members  commit to implementing SEMS and having their SEMS audited by independent Audit Service Providers (ASP)  that are accredited by COS, using a program based on recognized standards like ISO 17011 Requirements for Accreditation Bodies, and ISO 17021  Requirements for Bodies Providing Audits and Certification of Management Systems.

In 2015, COS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with BSEE, approving COS’s Accreditation Management System and published information to lessees recognizing COS as an Accreditation Body pursuant to 30 CFR 250 Subpart S. As COS remains the only Accreditation Body recognized by BSEE, all operators subject to this regulation are required to have their SEMS audited by a COS-accredited ASP.

One of the provisions of the BSEE-API MOU is for regular auditing of COS’s Accreditation Program by BSEE. This most recent audit began in late 2019 with a review of COS’s program documents, an audit of how COS meets the requirements of its program, and interviews of COS staff and contracted personnel. ICF reviewed nearly every aspect of COS’ program and observed COS performing its office and witness assessments of the ASP.