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Exclusions and exemptions from offshore safety legislation

  • Operations notice: 9
  • Issue date: July 2012


1. The legislative regime applying to the United Kingdom Continental Shelf provides for exemptions from Regulations or, in certain cases, directions by the Secretary of State that the operation of statutory obligations may be excluded in relation to any particular installation. This function has been delegated to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

2. This notice provides guidance for dutyholders who wish to apply for an exclusion or exemption. It also provides details of how dutyholders can appeal against a decision not to grant an exclusion or exemption.


3. All requests for exemptions should be made to the relevant Inspection Management Team Leader for your company at least four weeks before the activity is due to begin.  Where exclusions or exemptions are requested from a number of Regulations or the situation is complex, at least six weeks notice should be allowed. While the Offshore Division (OSD) will endeavour to respond to requests within these timescales, this cannot be guaranteed.

4. The dutyholder for the installation concerned should normally submit requests. Exceptionally, requests will be accepted from others if the dutyholder has been consulted and is content for the request to be made on their behalf and a contact point in the dutyholder's company is given.

5. Each request is considered on its merits; OSD will look for an alternative regime to be put in place which is at least equivalent to the intent of the Regulations from which an exclusion or exemption is sought.

6. Consultation is part of the process whereby HSE satisfies itself that the health and safety of persons likely to be affected by an exemption would not be prejudiced. The Health and Safety Commission has laid down broad guidelines on consultation arrangements which should be followed when HSE considers requests for exemptions. As part of these arrangements, HSE is required to consult with the employees. This would normally be through the safety representative or safety committee. For exemptions of a routine nature, formal consultation may not be required, but HSE needs to be satisfied that employees have been fully consulted by the employer and that their views have been properly taken into consideration. Information should therefore be included in the request as set out in paragraph 7(item 8).

7. Any requests should include the following information:

  1. the name of the installation;
  2. the name(s) of any other linked installation(s) or attendant vessels, eg. flotels, drilling rigs or crane barges;
  3. the name and SI number of the regulation(s) or name of the Act;
  4. the provisions within those Regulations or Act from which an exclusion or exemption is sought;
  5. the reasons why the Regulations or Act cannot be complied with;
  6. the alternative safety regime that it is proposed to put into place which should, at least, be equivalent to the intent of the Regulations or Act from which an exemption or exclusion is sought;
  7. the dates between which the exemption or exclusion should run;
  8. details of consultation carried out with the workforce and the outcome of those consultations;
  9. the name of the contact who can discuss the request with OSD.

8. In addition, any other supporting or background information which may be relevant should also be provided.

9. It should be noted that exclusions or exemptions are sent to the United Kingdom address of the dutyholder of the installation.


10. In the event of a request for an exclusion or exemption being rejected, dutyholders may appeal against the decision. Dutyholders who wish to appeal should write, summarising the reasons for the appeal to:

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

11. The appeal should be lodged within 21 days of receipt of the letter of rejection. The Head of Division will respond to appeals within 10 working days.

12. Where a dutyholder is not satisfied with the outcome of the appeal, or the way the appeal has been handled, they should write to:

Chief Executive
Health and Safety Executive
Redgrave  Court
Merton Rosd

L20 7HS

Updated 2012-11-07