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Offshore accommodation standards - men and women sharing cabins

  • Operations notice: 77
  • Issue date:  November 2008

Introduction

This notice explains HSE’s policy and role in the inspection and enforcement of the requirement for separate cabins for men and women on offshore installations.

Background

The Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction), etc) Regulations 1996 (DCR), Regulation 12(1) and Schedule 1 paragraph 65 states that:

Where there are both men and women on offshore installations there shall be separate:

The above regulations enacted the EU Directives (Health and Safety)/Health and safety at work/Mineral-extracting industries (drilling)/COUNCIL DIRECTIVE (92/91/EEC) (of 3 NOVBEMBER 1002) into domestic legislation.

Separate cabins for men and women

The regulation requires men and women to have separate cabins offshore.  Segregation by shift allocation is not adequate to meet this requirement.  However the use of shower rooms, lavatories and washbasins can be provided for use by both men and women as long as there is provision for separate use (e.g. locks). It should be noted that the number of cabins designated to use by either men or women at any one time will change with the sex ratio of the persons on board (POB).  As such there is no requirement to permanently allocate any specific cabin to one gender or the other.

Exemption

HSE has no power to give an exemption from these requirements as they enact an EU Directive.

HSE’s role

Offshore Division’s policy is that any intervention or subsequent enforcement action in relation to cabin sharing by men and women will be done on a ‘reactive’ basis only, e.g. Where HSE receives complaints with regard to cabin sharing inspectors will investigate any such complaints in accordance with HSE procedures.  Offshore Division inspectors will not be carrying out planned inspections against this legal requirement. However, where inspectors have it drawn to their attention, during an offshore inspection, that sharing of cabins by men and women is taking place advice will be provided to dutyholders and the dutyholder will be expected to take action to address the situation.

In managing these matters dutyholders are reminded that they have duties under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the need to prevent discrimination by virtue of gender.

References

Further information

Any queries concerning this notice should be addressed to:

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

Tel: 01224 252500
Fax: 01224 252615

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 2009-06-19