Health, Safety and Environmental Regulation on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf in the Aftermath of the Macondo Disaster

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Abstract

Prior to the 2010 Macondo disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the United Kingdom's approach to the regulation of offshore occupational health and safety, on the one hand, and to environmental protection, on the other, had evolved considerably over its forty-five year history. In regard to health and safety, an essentially self-regulatory approach gave way to detailed prescriptive regulation. This transformation occurred in response to the Sea Gem disaster in 1965, but it was subsequently supplanted by the current goal-setting and safety case regime established in the aftermath of the 1988 Piper Alpha disaster. Concurrently, driven in no small measure by the United Kingdom's international---especially Europeanobligations, environmental regulation had expanded, to the point that, by 2010, every aspect of offshore operations was subject to multiple pieces
of environmental legislation. In many respects, it was unforeseeable that an accident occurring in another jurisdiction, especially one governed by different regulatory approaches, would have produced any significant impact on the United Kingdom's arrangements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-272
Number of pages14
JournalLouisiana State University (LSU) Journal of Energy Law and Resources
Volume4
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016

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