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20 February 2017
In light of its concerns regarding how best to prevent and contain environmental and operational accidents arising from hydrocarbons projects, on January 24 2017 the National Agency for Industrial Safety and the Protection of the Environment in the Hydrocarbons Sector (ASEA) published the Guidelines to Carry Out the Root Cause Investigation for Incidents and Accidents in the Federal Official Gazette.
The guidelines further strengthen the provisions and obligations set out in the 2016 Guidelines for Reporting the Occurrence of Incidents and Accidents to the ASEA. While the 2016 guidelines focus on reporting obligations and the recording of incident consequences and containment measures, the new guidelines aim to identify the root cause of an incident and determine the maintenance and preventive mechanisms that must be implemented in order to prevent such events in future.
Depending on an event's classification (ie, Type 1 to 3), different procedural requirements must be met in a root cause investigation. The classification system matches the system provided in the 2016 guidelines (for further details please see "Environmental incidents in the hydrocarbons sector: new reporting obligations introduced").
Following an incident, regulated parties must undertake a thorough investigation of its root cause. Type 2 events resulting in one or more deaths and Type 3 events trigger the additional requirements of engaging an authorised third party in the investigation and filing the results with the ASEA (these requirements do not apply to Type 1 events, unless otherwise required by the ASEA). In addition, in the case of Type 2 and 3 events, the root cause investigation must be conducted pursuant to the methodology set out in the regulated party's Administration Systems for Industrial and Operational Safety and Environmental Protection (for further details please see "New guidelines minimise risk hydrocarbons industry poses to environment").
Finally, the report on the investigation's findings must identify the source of the contingency and provide any relevant maintenance and preventive measures to be implemented by the regulated party. If the report must be filed before the ASEA, the implementation of such measures can be subject to inspection by either the ASEA or an authorised third party as part of the routine inspections required by the Guidelines for the Conformation, Implementation and Authorisation of the Administration Systems for Industrial and Operational Safety and Environmental Protection Applicable to the Referred Activities of the Hydrocarbons Sector.
Failure to comply with the above obligations may result in penalties being imposed by the ASEA.
For further information on this topic please contact Juan Francisco Torres Landa, Mario Jorge Yanez, Brenda Rogel Salgado or Jeanett Trad Nacif at Hogan Lovells BSTL, SC by telephone (+52 55 5091 0000) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Hogan Lovells BSTL, SC website can be accessed at www.hoganlovells.com.
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