This paper assesses Ghana's offshore health and safety regulatory regime in the context of international best practice in the upstream oil and gas industry. It contributes to the discussion of the emerging issue of offshore risk regulation in new petroleum producing countries. We present a comparative analysis contrasting two leading safety regimes namely the United Kingdom and Norway to Ghana’s emerging regime to benchmark common features as well as weaknesses. Our findings indicate that Ghana requires a robust regulatory regime that ensures that health and safety risks are properly delineated if the country is to avoid catastrophic accidents. This is especially important as these risks are more pronounced with deepwater operations such as those prevalent in the country’s petroleum basins. We propose the enactment of a general Health & Safety at Work law in Ghana backed by subsidiary regulations to harmonise the disjointed and sometimes incoherent health and safety provisions. Additionally, we propose that the health and safety regulatory function of the Ghana Petroleum Commission should be decoupled to form an independent Competent Authority as activity levels and the degree of complexity of operations increase to prevent conflict of interest between its regulatory and licensing functions.
Bibliographical noteWe thank Professor Alex Kemp for his comments on an earlier draft of this paper that greatly improved the manuscript. We would also like to show our gratitude to Dr Ishmael Ackah who reviewed the paper and provided useful comments and recommendations. We are grateful to the referees who peer-reviewed the paper. Any errors remain our own.
- Risk regulation
- Offshore health and safety
- Safety ases
- Goal setting regimes