• Publication Date:
  • Publication Type:
  • Fed Register #:
  • Title:
    Expert Forum on the Use of Performance-Based Regulatory Models in the U.S. Oil and Gas Industry, Offshore and Onshore
[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 161 (Monday, August 20, 2012)][Notices][Pages 50172-50174]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-20058]



Occupational Safety and Health Administration

[Docket No. OSHA-2012-0033]

Expert Forum on the Use of Performance-Based Regulatory Models in
the U.S. Oil and Gas Industry, Offshore and Onshore

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Notice of stakeholder meeting.


SUMMARY: The Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA); Department of Interior, Bureau of Safety and
Environmental Enforcement (BSEE); Department of Homeland Security,
United States Coast Guard (USCG); Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA); and Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous
Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) invite interested parties to
participate in a co-sponsored stakeholder meeting, and submit comments
on the use and implementation of performance-based regulatory models
for enhanced safety and environmental performance in the United States
oil and gas industry. The meeting will take place at the College of the
Mainland, and hosted by the Gulf Coast Safety Institute. Speakers will
address the current regulatory landscape and discuss the challenges and
benefits of non-prescriptive, outcome-based approaches to reduce the
frequency and severity of harmful events. Public attendees will have
the opportunity to make comments at the meeting, and all members of the
public may submit comments in writing. The purpose of the meeting is to
gather information from experts and stakeholders to help inform the
consideration of future applications of performance-based regulatory
approaches in the oil and gas sector. The agencies involved are
soliciting input on potential concepts and options, and are not
proposing specific changes to existing regulations at this time.

DATES: The stakeholder meeting will be held on September 20-21, 2012.
The meeting will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., CDT on September 20, and 9
a.m. to 1 p.m., CDT on September 21. The agencies will post a more
detailed agenda for the meeting on the registration Web site (see
Registration section).

ADDRESSES: The meeting will take place at College of the Mainland,
Learning Resource Center, Room 131, 1200 Amburn Road, Texas City, Texas
77511. On-site parking will be available.
    Registration: The deadline for registration to attend the meeting
is September 5, 2012. Please register online at https://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/meetings/mtghome.mtg?mtg=79.
Registrations will be available for 150 public seats. The meeting also
will be webcast live for online viewing. Instructions and information
for the webcast, a detailed meeting agenda, and additional information
will be available on the registration Web site.
    Public Comment: You are invited to submit comments that address the
topics for consideration listed in Section II of this notice. The
docket will remain open until October 22, 2012. You may submit comments
and additional materials electronically, or by facsimile (fax) or hard
    Electronically: You may submit comments and attachments
electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions
on-line for making electronic submissions.
    Fax: If your submissions, including attachments, are not longer
than 10 pages, you may fax them to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-
    Mail, hand delivery, express mail, or messenger or courier service:
You may submit comments and attachments to the OSHA Docket Office,
Docket No. 2012-0033, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2625, 200
Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210. The Docket Office will
accept deliveries (hand, express mail, or messenger or courier service)
during the Department of Labor's and Docket Office's normal business
hours, 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., EST.
    Instructions: All submissions must identify the Agency name and the
OSHA docket number for this meeting (OSHA Docket No. 2012-0033). You
may supplement electronic submissions by uploading document attachments
and files electronically. If, instead, you wish to mail additional
materials in reference to an electronic or fax submission, you must
submit a copy to the OSHA Docket Office. The additional materials must
clearly identify your electronic submissions by name, date, and docket
number so OSHA can attach them to your submissions.
    Because of security-related procedures, the use of regular mail may
cause a significant delay in the receipt of submissions. For
information about security procedures concerning the delivery of
materials by hand delivery, express mail, or messenger or courier
service, please contact the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-2350 (TTY
(877) 889-5627).
    Docket: To read or download submissions or other material in the
docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov or the OSHA Docket Office at
the address above. All documents in the docket are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index;
however, some information (e.g., copyrighted material) is not publicly
available to read or download through the Web site. All submissions,
including copyrighted material, are available for inspection and
copying at the OSHA Docket Office.

Frank Meilinger, Director, OSHA Office of Communications, Room N-3647,
U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC
20210; telephone: (202) 693-1999; e-mail: meilinger.francis2@dol.gov.
     For general and technical information about the meeting:
Ms. Lisa Long, Director, Office of Engineering Safety, OSHA,
Directorate of Standards and Guidance, Room N-3609, U.S. Department of
Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone:
(202) 693-2222; e-mail: long.lisa@dol.gov.
     For copies of this Federal Register notice: Electronic
copies of this Federal Register document are available at
http://www.regulations.gov. This document, as well as news releases and
other relevant information, also are available at OSHA's Webpage at


I. Background

    Multiple agencies share Federal health, safety, and environmental
regulation of the U.S. oil and gas industry, from drilling to refining,
both onshore and offshore. The oil and gas industry engages in
operations that include, but are not limited to, exploration, drilling,
completion, servicing, production, transportation, and refining. While
the technical aspects of these operations can vary greatly, many
hazards to both employees and the general public are similar. However,
regulatory requirements between the various agencies often differ, and
the agency that has jurisdiction over an operation can vary by either
type of operation or location; in some cases, jurisdiction may overlap.
For instance, BSEE, USCG, and the EPA regulate drilling and production
activities offshore, PHMSA regulates hazardous material transportation
both onshore and offshore, and OSHA has standards regulating safety and
health in workplaces that include oil and gas drilling, production, and
refining. Currently, Federal agencies involved in the regulation of the
oil and gas sector employ regulatory regimes that have some elements of
both prescriptive and performance-based approaches; the agencies are
continually evaluating how to improve the effectiveness of these
regulations and standards.
    On January 18, 2011, President Obama issued Executive Order 13563,
which called for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to
promote predictability and reduce uncertainty, and to use the best,
most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory
ends. Specifically, the Executive Order requests that agencies review
existing and proposed standards and regulations to ensure they
effectively protect "public health, welfare, safety, and our
environment while promoting economic growth, innovation,
competitiveness, and job creation." The Executive Order also sets
forth agency requirements for promulgating regulations and standards,
including provisions addressing public participation, integration and
innovation, flexible approaches, and retrospective analysis of existing
rules. With respect to retrospective analysis, the Executive Order

    To facilitate the periodic review of existing significant
regulations, agencies shall consider how best to promote
retrospective analysis of rules that may be outmoded, ineffective,
insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline,
expand, or repeal them in accordance with what has been learned.

    The Executive Order emphasizes that, to the extent feasible,
regulations and standards should: specify performance objectives rather
than specifying the behavior or manner of compliance that regulated
entities must adopt; and be adopted through a process that involves
public participation. Consistent with these objectives, BSEE, EPA,
OSHA, PHMSA and USCG are soliciting views from the public regarding
opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of safety and
environmental regulations and standards in the oil and gas industry
while enhancing interagency coordination. The goal of such improvements
is to further the safety of oil and gas industry operations, while
increasing environmental and economic benefits to society.

Types of Regulatory Models

    BSEE, EPA, OSHA, PHMSA, and the USCG are particularly interested in
stakeholder views regarding the most effective regulatory models to
address the issues noted above. There are many regulatory models for
agencies to consider, ranging from prescriptive regulations and
standards to more performance-based regulations and standards.
Prescriptive models, sometimes referred to as "command and control"
regulation, generally prescribe precise requirements. Performance-based
models, often referred to as "outcome-based" or "market-based"
regulation, specify an outcome to be achieved without prescribing the
specific requirements to reach that outcome.
    One popular regulatory model in the U.S., the "management-based"
regulation, falls somewhere on the spectrum between prescriptive and
performance-based models. Regulators using this model generally require
the implementation of management systems and practices that ensure a
desired outcome. Regulations and standards developed under this model
may specify the elements of the management system, but do not prescribe
specific technical requirements.
    BSEE, EPA, OSHA, PHMSA, and the USCG have a mix of regulations and
standards that incorporate prescriptive and performance-based
requirements, including some management-based models. In addition to
these regulations and standards, there are several examples of
regulatory models in the U.S. and abroad that incorporate varying
degrees of performance-based approaches that include, but are not
limited to:
     U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulations;
     Contra Costa County California Industrial Safety
     United Kingdom, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Offshore
Installation (Safety Case) Regulations; and
     2005 Norway, Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), Framework
HSE, Management, Technical and Operational, Facilities and Activities

II. Topics for Consideration

    The Federal agencies sponsoring this stakeholder meeting are
exploring a number of topics that will help inform whether and how to
further incorporate performance-based regulatory approaches into their
current regulatory systems. These topics include:
     The advantages and disadvantages of performance-based,
prescriptive, and management-based regulatory approaches;
     Whether these models could create synergies between
multiple agencies; and
     What types of models or combinations of models could
result in long-term economic benefits.
    To elicit specific feedback on these topics, participating agencies
are requesting comment from stakeholders regarding the following
    1. What are some benefits of using a performance-based regulatory
regime to regulate the oil and gas industry? What are some drawbacks?
In making this evaluation, consider health, safety, environmental, and
economic impacts, as well as implementation challenges, cost to
regulatory agencies, and long-term hazard-reduction effectiveness.
Refer to specific models and provide data, when appropriate.
    2. Could there be a balance of performance vs. prescriptive
regulations and standards in the U.S. oil and gas industry and, if so,
what should it be? Does this balance vary for certain types of
operations, business sizes, etc.?
    3. Is there a way to advance the use of performance-based
regulations and standards in the U.S. oil and gas Industry? If so, what
is the best way? Consider means, cost to regulatory agencies, cost for
industry, and expected changes in developing your response.
    4. Could uniform implementation of performance-based regulations
and standards improve efficiency and reduce duplication in a hazardous
industry regulated by multiple agencies? If so, how?
    5. What are the biggest challenges to successful implementation of
performance-based regulations in the U.S. oil and gas industry?
    6. How can risk assessment best be used in performance-based
regulations while still ensuring adequate levels of safety? If risk
assessments are used in a performance-based regulation, should
acceptable risk levels be established?
    7. How have authorities that currently use performance-based
regulatory models ensured effective oversight (e.g., use of metrics,
audit programs)?
    8. Are there limits to the use of performance-based regulatory
models? For example, do performance-based regulatory models increase or
decrease challenges for small businesses in comparison to prescriptive
models? Are prescriptive components needed/desirable, and if so, under
what situations?

III. Meeting Format

    The meeting will include opening remarks, presentations by the
agencies and expert speakers, time for public comments, and closing
remarks. The agencies will discuss their areas of jurisdiction,
regulations and standards, and efforts in the oil and gas industry.
Expert speakers will discuss the topics for consideration and issues
related to performance-based regulations. In the time designated for
public comments, meeting attendees will have an opportunity to make
comments that provide the agencies with additional information that may
assist them with their future performance-based regulatory efforts.

Authority and Signature

    David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Secretary of Labor for
Occupational Safety and Health, authorized the preparation of this

    Signed at Washington, DC, on August 10, 2012.
David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
 [FR Doc. 2012-20058 Filed 8-17-12; 8:45 am]