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Occupational health and safety and labour issues

Health and safety

What health and safety regulations and procedures apply to oil and gas operations (upstream, midstream and downstream)?

According to Article 22 of the Oil and Gas Law (Royal Decree 8/2011), the concession holder must:

  • develop a comprehensive security plan to meet all security and safety requirements in the concession area which satisfies the terms and conditions set out in applicable laws; and
  • coordinate with the Royal Oman Police for its approval.

The plan must be renewed every two years. In addition, the Ministry of Manpower set out vocational health and safety requirements in Decision 286/2008 (as amended), with which all employers must comply. One of the chapters in the Labour Law (Royal Decree 35/2003) governs health and safety requirements in the workplace and reiterates the obligations of both employers and employees in this respect. The Ministry of Manpower has the authority to:

  • inspect workplaces;
  • identify health and safety violations;
  • instruct employers to remedy such violations; and
  • take action against the employer should they fail to abide by such instruction. 

Labour law

Are there any labour law provisions with specific relevance to the oil and gas industry (eg, with regard to use of native and foreign personnel)?

While the Labour Law does not specifically apply to the oil and gas industry, the Oil and Gas Law contains several requirements with regard to the training and use of native workforces. In this respect, Article 36 of the Oil and Gas Law provides that concession holders must employ a qualified national workforce and, in coordination with the Ministry of Oil and Gas, prepare annual training programmes designed to qualify Omanis for professional, technical and senior executive positions relating to operations in order to gradually replace expatriate labourers with local ones. In accordance with Article 36, the Ministry of Oil and Gas, in coordination with the Ministry of Manpower, can determine concessionaires’ rates, controls, areas of employment, training and obligations in line with the needs of the petroleum industry and expertise required.

What is the state of collective bargaining/organised labour in your jurisdiction’s oil and gas industry?

The Ministry of Manpower’s Collective Labour Decision (294/2006, as amended) governs collective bargaining. Article 2 of the Collective Labour Decision provides that collective negotiations should be conducted between the employer, a trade union representative within the enterprise (should the enterprise have a trade union pursuant to the Ministry of Manpower’s Labour Unions Decision (570/2012)) and the General Union of Workers of Oman. Where there is no labour syndicate, negotiations must be between the employer and five employees who have been selected by the employer, with the optional assistance of the General Union of Workers of Oman. Article 3 of the Collective Labour Decision states that throughout the course of the negotiations, the employer must refrain from taking measures or issuing decisions on the matters being negotiated. Such collective labour negotiation can be conducted in relation to the preparation of a collective labour agreement.

There is no unified trade union for all oil and gas industry workers; each large oil and gas company (eg, Petroleum Development Oman and Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company) has a trade union specific to its own personnel.