Accidents related to production, processing, storage and transportation of oil and its by-products have been studied extensively because of their social and environmental impacts. However, researchers have largely ignored accidents related to the construction of oil facilities, perhaps because such accidents involve a small group of people and result in smaller-scale environmental impacts. In this paper we discuss the major potential risks in every phase of an offshore unit construction. We identified the limitations of traditional safety management systems in coping with the critical problems related to safety issues. Many companies are using integrated management systems as the major tools to control risk. Such systems cover health, safety and environmental issues (HSE). PETROBRAS, the largest Brazilian oil company and one of the leading oil companies in the world, has adopted the HSE system. The system focuses on employee participation in implementation of the HSE system. We highlight leader commitment as one of the keys to good results. In many cases, management commitment is low, implying a need to convince them of the importance of health and safety performance to the future prosperity of their company. Contractual directives are baselines to build good relationships during the project. Another relevant point is to demand a management system like OHSAS 18001 from contractors. Awareness of health risks is generally below that of safety risks and emphasis should be placed on increasing understanding of the causes.

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