U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael R. Bromwich Tuesday announced a proposed rule that will reduce the likelihood of accidents, injuries and spills in connection with oil and natural gas exploration and development activities.

The proposed Safety and Environmental Management Systems rule is part of a series of safety and environmental reforms implemented by the Department of the Interior since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a news release.

The proposed rule, which enhances the Workplace Safety Rule issued in October 2010, will add greater protection by supplementing operators’ safety programs with employee training, engaging personnel in safety management, and strengthening auditing procedures by requiring them to be completed by independent third parties.

“As we continue to encourage balanced and responsible oil and gas development on the OCS, we must remain fully focused on continually strengthening safety standards to protect workers and to reduce the risk of accidents and spills,” Salazar said in the release.