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About the SafeOCS Reporting System

The SafeOCS confidential reporting system collects and analyzes data to advance safety in oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). It was developed jointly with the Department of Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). SafeOCS facilitates the capture of essential information about accident precursors and potential hazards associated with offshore operations, including risks related to pipeline safety and offshore transport.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why was SafeOCS established?
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    SafeOCS was established to close a gap in safety data and information sharing among industry groups. Almost all oil and gas companies operating on the OCS have internal safety data reporting programs. However, due to legal and commercial concerns, these data are not being shared widely among stakeholders. SafeOCS provides a solution to these concerns by offering operators a confidential method to share critical equipment failure and safety data. The aggregated data can be used to reduce the risk of major events such as loss of life, loss of property, and environmental harm.

    Information collected through the SafeOCS program will help identify current safety issues and emerging trends. Other industries, such as aviation, have shared information through similar industry-wide programs that have led to increased operational safety and protection of the environment.

  • On March 4, 2020, BSEE announced implementation of a new safety initiative - SPEAR - in partnership with NASA to enhance BSEE’s data analysis capabilities. How is this program different from the SafeOCS program?

    BSEE is working on executing an agreement with NASA for its new initiative – Safety Performance Enhanced by Analytical Review, or SPEAR. The objective of that program is to help BSEE identify and analyze safety and environment risks offshore. The source of data for SPEAR will be safety-related information that BSEE is currently capturing as part of its regulatory program. This new initiative is separate and independent of the SafeOCS program, which captures a broader set of data from all safety-related events, including events without consequences such as near misses and significant observations, to identify learnings that can be applied across the industry. Unlike SPEAR, data collected by SafeOCS will continue to be subject to the full data protection provisions of CIPSEA.

  • How does the SafeOCS program differ from other safety data reporting programs managed by individual companies or industry groups?

    Information from reporting programs operated by individual companies is generally not shared across the industry. Safety information collected by industry groups is often limited to the group's members and is limited in scope.

    The goal of SafeOCS is to gather, aggregate, analyze, and publish a broad scope of safety and equipment reliability data from all segments of OCS operations for use by industry, government, and the public. SafeOCS will complement other safety and equipment reliability efforts and add to the combined knowledge to make the OCS a safer place to work and operate.

    To facilitate the submission of information to SafeOCS, BTS has worked closely with the industry to ensure that BTS systems closely mirror industry data reporting processes.

  • What happens to the information submitted to SafeOCS and how will it be used?

    SafeOCS staff collects the reports and information submitted and secures confidential information. The data goes through a detailed quality evaluation, is aggregated, and then analyzed to identify industry-wide patterns and results. This aggregated information is then shared with all stakeholders through published reports. The findings can be used to improve safety and equipment reliability on the OCS.

  • How do I know my information is confidential and secure?

    BTS operates SafeOCS under the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA) (44 USC § 3501 note). Under CIPSEA, it is a felony, punishable by up to $250,000 in fines and up to 5 years in jail, for BTS or its agents to release identifiable data confidentially submitted in reports by individuals, companies, or other entities. BTS has stringent protocols in place for collecting and protecting such data. CIPSEA protections include, but are not limited to:

      •  protection from subpoenas and Freedom of Information Act disclosure
      •  protection from release to the public, BSEE, or any other government agency
      •  protection from uses other than statistical purposes

    More information about BTS and CIPSEA confidentiality protection can be found here.

  • How does SafeOCS relate to the SEMS subpart S requirements?

    BSEE's safety and environmental management system (SEMS) rules at 30 CFR part 250 subpart S require facility management to investigate events that have the potential for serious safety or environmental consequences. The company must take corrective actions based on the results of an investigation and consider the findings as part of the next hazard analysis update or SEMS audit; still, the results of these investigations are typically not required to be reported to BSEE or otherwise shared outside the company. SafeOCS complements the SEMS requirements by:

    • covering a broader scope of equipment failure, near miss, and other safety-related events from an OCS-wide perspective;
    • sharing the results with stakeholders and the public; and
    • adding to the body of information that will make the OCS a safer place to work and operate.

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Send email icon  SafeOCS@dot.gov Phone icon  1-844-OCS-FRST (1-844-627-3778) Location icon  SafeOCS, BTS-USDOT, P.O. Box 23295, Washington, DC 20026-3295