On 5 August 2009 a new order extending the application of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to certain areas beyond the territorial sea came into force.

The variation extends the application of the HSW Act to cover energy structures (such as wind turbines) and to certain offshore installations where, because of a change of use, the HSW Act had ceased to apply (such as construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, maintenance, cleaning, use, operation, demolition and dismantling of any structure which would be otherwise be an offshore installation).

In relation to energy structures, the HSW Act will now apply to activities within a REZ. A REZ is an area outside the territorial sea, designated by order under sections 84(4) of the Energy Act 2004 which may be exploited for the production of energy from water or wind. The kind of activities now covered are:

  1. the construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, maintenance, cleaning, use, operation, demolition and dismantling of any energy structure or related structure, or any preparation for any such activity;
  2. the transfer of people or goods between a vessel or aircraft and an energy structure or related structure;
  3. the loading, unloading, fuelling or provisioning of a vessel;
  4. the operation of a cable for transmitting electricity from an energy structure or related structure to Great Britain;
  5. a diving project associated with any of the activities listed.

The term “related structure” is included in paragraph (a) to ensure that the all significant activities related to energy structures are subject to the Act.

In practice this means that duty holders must comply with the provisions of the HSW Act in the areas specified and that the HSE can ensure compliance by exercise of their powers including, for example, inspection and investigation.