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The original SEMP document was composed to provide the outline of a safety program for companies operating on the OCS. The document was based off the American Petroleum Institute's Recommended Practice 75 commonly referred to as API RP 75. The API's RP 75 was written in 1994, and it was a fit-for-purpose tool for integrating safety management into many different kinds of offshore operations.

API RP 75 was the first comprehensive safety and environmental management standard of its kind. It was complied from the contributions of many industry offshore safety and operational experts. These rules set forth in the document would go on to be the backbone for each company's Safety and Environmental Management Program (SEMP).

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