Design management



This SPC provides guidance for Inspectors on the management of health and safety at the design stage of projects. This is based on the results of design management reviews previously undertaken by OSD units 3, 4 and 5 under the sponsorship of the Safety Management Systems (SMS) team. This guidance is intended to help Inspectors to recognise, at an early stage, those projects that are not employing best practice in the design process to enable constructive intervention with duty holders. It is applicable to new construction and to projects that involve significant modification of existing designs. This SPC replaces SPC/Enforcement/14 version 2 which has been withdrawn.


Inspectors should follow this guidance in their dealings with design and construction project teams. Advice and assistance is available from OSD5.3. To aid the continuous development of this SPC, reports of any inspections undertaken should be copied to OSD5.3.

Relationship with other documents

This guidance supplements and is subordinate to the instructions in the Offshore Intervention Guide and SPC/Enforcement/170 which deals with The Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc) Regulations 1996.


Experience in the assessment of design safety cases has confirmed that the achievement of an installation that is designed and constructed such that risks to persons are ALARP depends to a significant extent on the efforts applied to achieve inherently safer design at the earliest stages of the project design process. This applies to both new designs and to modifications to existing installations.

While the points made may appear obvious to many Inspectors, the reviews carried out of six varied design and construction projects has enabled OSD to confirm a number of key factors that, when correctly applied, can significantly improve the prospects that measures are taken ("designed in") to ensure that risks to persons from all hazards with a potential to cause a major accident on the completed installation are reduced to the lowest level that is reasonably practicable. Not all of these factors were in place in all of the projects examined.

Further information

For further information regarding this SPC please contact OSD 5.3, (01256 404164).

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Updated 2020-12-09