IADC to support Noble court appeal
IADC has agreed to file an amicus curiae brief at the Texas Supreme Court in support of Noble Drilling Inc. The company is appealing a decision holding that an offshore worker is entitled to Jones Act compensation for injuries allegedly sustained by the company’s failure to follow the operator’s new internal safety guidelines. Noble argues that the standard of care for Jones Act claims isn’t claimed “best practices” but rather providing a safe place to work. Moreover, the company maintains the plaintiff was trained for what, in this case, involved slinging procedures, and that his injury was the result of his own negligence.
Working Time Directive hearing ends
The Scottish Employment Tribunal sitting in Aberdeen on the application of the EU Working Time Directive in the UKCS concluded oral arguments in November. IADC was represented as part of the joint industry employers group, also including Oil and Gas UK and COTA, the catering association. Amicus (UNITE) and OILC were represented in the proceedings opposing the industry position that the EU requirement of four weeks’ paid annual leave for all workers is satisfied offshore by existing rota arrangements via field breaks. The tribunal will now consider the evidence and issue a decision in 2008, not likely before spring.
EPA SPCC proposal challenged
IADC joined IPAA in comments to the docket involving the EPA’s latest proposed amendments to its Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan regulations. These amendments were first proposed in 2002 and re-proposed in 2006. At that time, the E&P industry questioned their scope and cost, noting they could potentially extend to the release of effluents from any “facility” that would reach “navigable waters.” The definitions of both are a matter of interpretation and could greatly expand the SPCC’s reach beyond the original purpose.
OSHA issues final rule on PPE payments
OSHA has published its final rule requiring employers to pay for personal protective equipment (PPE) required in the workplace; it becomes effective 13 February 2008. IADC had opposed the proposed rule when it was published in 2004. The final rule requires employers to pay for all PPE other than non-specialty safety-toe protective footwear and non-specialty prescription safety eyewear, provided that the employer permits such items to be worn off the job site. Employers are also exempt from paying for standard work clothing such as long-sleeve shirts, long pants and cotton coveralls. In addition, ordinary clothing used solely for protection from the weather is exempt.