What We Do / Safety Enforcement

Safety Enforcement

Safety enforcement banner image. BSEE inspectors working.

Enforcement and Compliance Continuum

An effective enforcement and compliance program requires consistent and transparent processes, including: clear and understandable standards; sufficient reporting and recordkeeping to measure compliance; an effective oversight program in the field; a range of enforcement tools graduated to risk; and incentives to move beyond baseline compliance to an effective safety and environmental protection management scheme.

BSEE promotes compliance with safety and environmental standards through regular inspections and other monitoring activities. Through timely notice of detected violations, BSEE provides operators clear direction for coming into compliance, and a reasonable opportunity to make corrections. BSEE’s intent is to prevent incidents; however, should they occur, BSEE has a duty to investigate, determine the causal elements/factors, and take the appropriate corrective actions. The agency incorporates a varied enforcement approach in response to incidents depending on the severity and other causal factors.

All incidents present an opportunity to improve our understanding of underlying causes and risk factors; therefore, systemic analysis of this information is a key element of BSEE’s enforcement program and our regulatory responsibilities.  The Safety Enforcement Division (SED) develops and maintains national compliance and enforcement policy and organizing enforcement strategy for the agency.  SED pulls expertise from various programs to include inspections, civil penalties, environmental compliance and the Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) in order to conduct analysis, develop guidelines, review operator performance and develop alternative enforcement strategies.  SED collaborates with bureau and departmental stakeholders in order to enforce safety on the OCS.

On rare occasions, BSEE investigations will detect evidence of knowing and willful misconduct or otherwise unlawful activity. Although BSEE is not a law enforcement agency, such evidence, when detected, will be handled appropriately and properly preserved until a transfer to designated law enforcement investigators can be accomplished. In these situations, BSEE personnel will continue to cooperate with law enforcement officials as subject matter experts in the development of a case.

The BSEE OCS Civil Penalties Program is designed to encourage compliance with OCS statutes and regulations through the pursuit, assessment, and collection of civil penalties and referrals for the consideration of criminal penalties.   Annual data on civil penalties that are paid and closed can be found on the Civil Penalties Program page.