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Guidance for the provision of accommodation on offshore installations

  • Operations notice: 82 (revised)
  • Issue date: October 2015


1. This Operations Notice provides guidance on the provision of accommodation on offshore installations to comply with the requirements of Regulation 12 and Schedule 1 of the Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc) Regulations 1996 (DCR)1.

2. It clarifies the terms “bed”, “sufficient beds”, “overcrowded”, “adequate space” and “reasonable privacy and comfort”.

3. ON82 (Issued April 2010) is now withdrawn.


4. DCR Regulation 12 and Schedule 1 paragraphs 59-66 contain requirements for accommodation standards offshore. These specify that sleeping accommodation must contain sufficient beds; must not be overcrowded; must contain adequate storage space and allow reasonable privacy and comfort.

5. The requirement to inform HSE of changes to accommodation arrangements was removed on 14 April 2014. When making any changes to accommodation, especially if this increases the number of persons on board (POB), operators must continue to comply with all relevant legal requirements. In particular:-

Provision of accommodation offshore

Bed design

6. Sleeping cabins should be provided with a platform bed (a mattress resting on a solid, flat raised surface, either free-standing or part of the structure of the sleeping cabin). Beds can be arranged side by side or tiered with the lower bed in a tier at least 300 mm above the deck. Head clearance above each bed should be at least 610 mm and preferably, 810 mm. Beds should be provided with individually operated privacy curtains. Bed mattress sizes should be at least 1900 mm by 900 mm. These dimensions are consistent with established standards such as the ABS Guide for Crew Habitability on Offshore Installations 2012 6 and Norwegian NORSOK Standard C-0017.

Sufficient beds

7. There should be sufficient beds or bunks for the number of people expected to sleep on the installation. No person should be required to share a bed (hot bunking). Changing the mattress and/or bedding to allow two people to share a bed or bunk is considered as 'hot bunking'.


7. Sleeping accommodation needs to take into account temporary increases in POB such as those that occur during planned shutdown, maintenance and drilling campaigns, or major modification work. Additional temporary beds in the accommodation to cope with staffing peaks are unlikely to meet the  guidance for reasonable privacy and comfort. The design of new installations should carefully consider these foreseeable increases in staffing levels. Where this has not been the case planning will need to address potential staffing peaks. These measures will remove the need to consider alternatives such as temporary living accommodation or helicopter shuttling.


8. Overcrowding can mean restricted access to facilities, lack of privacy, difficultly in maintaining hygiene or disturbance of rest and sleep. Overcrowding can also restrict the  ability of the occupants to respond properly in the event of an alarm or emergency.

9. The free floor area in a sleeping cabin should be at least 4.5 square metres for a single occupant and at least 9.0 square metres for two/three occupants with furniture and fittings in place. The height of a cabin should be at least 2.3 metres.

10. Minimum area per occupant is derived from the established standard in the 4th Edition Guidance Note8 and is consistent with other established standards such as the Norwegian NORSOK Standard C-001 (single cabin, inclusive bathroom unit: 6 m², double cabin, inclusive bathroom unit: 12 m²) and the ABS Guide for Crew Habitability on Offshore Installations 2012 (single cabin: 7.0 – 8.5 m², double cabin: 8.0 – 10.0 m²).

11. Each person should have adequate lockable storage space.

Privacy and comfort

12. On Exploration and Production Installations, where cabin design permits (dimensions and layout), reasonable privacy and comfort will be provided when a cabin is allocated to a maximum of three people, based on two people working days, with the third person working nights.

13. On Flotels and other accommodation support vessels, reasonable privacy and comfort will be provided when a cabin is allocated to a maximum of two persons during a 24 hour work/rest period.

Sleeping cabins for men and women

13. Operations Notice 779 explains HSE’s policy and role in the inspection and enforcement of the requirement for separate cabins for men and women on offshore installations.

Provision of accommodation on normally unattended installations

15. For NUIs where no overnight stays are planned, there should be adequate welfare facilities for the number of workers likely to be present.  Sufficient emergency accommodation should also be provided to account for the rare occasion when planned departure from the installation cannot be achieved. Temporary beds are acceptable for unplanned stays on NUIs.

16. Where planned overnight stays are required; accommodation arrangements in line with those required for permanently attended installations should be provided.

Enforcement approach

17. In applying DCR, complaints or matters of evident concern relating to accommodation will be investigated in accordance with HSE procedures.


  1. Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc.) Regulations 1996 SI 1996/913 The Stationery Office 1996 ISBN 0 11 054451 X
  2. Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations 2005 SI 2005/3117 and Offshore Installations (Offshore Safety Directive) (Safety Case etc.) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/398.
  3. Offshore Installations (Prevention of Fire and Explosion, and Emergency Response) Regulations 1995 SI 1995/743.
  4. Offshore Installation and Pipeline Works (Management and Administration) Regulations 1995 SI 1995/738.
  5. Offshore Installations (Safety Representatives and Safety Committee) Regulations 1989 SI 1989/971.
  6. American Bureau of Shipping: Crew Habitability on Offshore Installations 2012.
  7. NORSOK Standard C-001 Living Quarters Area (3 May 2006).
  8. Offshore installations: guidance on design, construction and certification (fourth edition) HMSO 1990 (withdrawn).
  9. HSE Operations Notice 77: Offshore accommodation standards - men and women sharing cabins. Issued November 2008.

Further information

Any queries relating to this notice should be addressed to:

Health and Safety Executive
Hazardous Installations Directorate
Energy Division
Lord Cullen House
Fraser Place
AB25 3UB

Tel: 01224 252500

This guidance is issued by the Health and Safety Executive. Following the guidance is not compulsory and you are free to take other action. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to this guidance as illustrating good practice.

Updated 2015-11-23