Establishment of safety zones for sub-sea installations

Document Identification: Operations Notice 54 (Revised September 2022)
Publication Date: November 2022
Review Due: November 2025
Target Audience: All stakeholders
Internal Reference: 2022/222432
Document Owner: ED1 Operational Delivery Team


This notice provides guidance on the procedures to be followed for applying for the establishment of safety zones for sub-sea installations, in accordance with the Petroleum Act 1987 (Sections 22–24). Applications can take up to six months before coming into force; early application is advisable.


Under the Petroleum Act 1987 the Secretary of State may, by order, establish a 500 m safety zone around a sub-sea installation within designated waters.


Applications for the establishment of safety zones for sub-sea installations should be sent  to HSE at [email protected]  (together with the information outlined in Annex 1). HSE will arrange for consultation with other interested parties.

If any objections are received, details of these will be forwarded to the applicant. It will then be for the applicant to resolve them with the consultee concerned. HSE will take no further action until advised in writing that the objection has been resolved.

If there are no objections, an order will be prepared for approval by the Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). For installations already on station the order will normally come into force 21 days after Order has been signed. HSE will advise the applicant when the Order comes into force. Where installations are not yet on station when the order is made, the safety zone only comes into force when the installation arrives at the stated location. Operators must confirm arrival on location with HSE by emailing [email protected] and [email protected] for the promulgation of a Radio Navigation Warning.

Operators may apply to HSE for the removal of an automatic safety zone and its replacement by one made by an order for continuous protection during the dismantlement and decommissioning process. A safety zone will be created by Order. Operators must send confirmation to [email protected] that decommissioning has been completed in accordance with the plan agreed with OPRED. HSE will then arrange for the safety zone to be revoked.

Removal of subsea installations

Safety zones created by an Order can only be revoked by a subsequent Order. When subsea installations with a safety zone are removed, HSE must be informed. An email confirming that a safety zone is no longer required should be sent to [email protected].

Further information

Any queries relating to this notice should be sent to [email protected]

This guidance is issued by the Offshore Major Accident Regulator (OMAR).  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.  Inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to this guidance as illustrating good practice.

Annex 1: Information which should be supplied with an application for establishment of a safety zone for a sub-sea installation, by order, under the Petroleum Act 1987 section 22

  • A covering email requesting the safety zone.
  • Name of the installation and field.
  • Block number of the installation.
  • Co-ordinates latitude and longitude (shown in degrees and decimal minutes  [usually to two decimal places but dependent on positional accuracy required] e.g. 56° 26.55’ N, 02° 42.07’ E) of where the installation is located. (Co-ordinates must be given in the WGS84 format and confirmed as such.)
  • Water depth (in metres, stating vertical datum, preferably LAT).
  • Policy on buoying (whether buoyed or not).
  • Date when the safety zone is required by.
  • Plan of seabed.
  • Plan of sub-sea installation.
  • Any other useful information in the form of charts.
  • Company contact, telephone number and email address.
Updated 2022-11-18