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Oil and gas industry needs to improve safety

25 October 2010

Research into oil and gas safety and competency standards is revealing that the industry has "still not cracked safety". In its drive to improve and align safety and competence standards, Opito International commissioned the Aberdeen Business School at Robert Gordon University to undertake a major study into how internationalisation impacts on emergency response and basic safety training requirements in the industry.

Oil & gas industry needs to improve safety
Oil & gas industry needs to improve safety

The independent study seeks to identify good practice from around the world, highlight specific regional challenges, examine the barriers to effective and consistent training delivery and quantify the value to companies and the industry and how that value is being measured.
Emerging themes from the research, to be completed in November, show that while countries and organisations are striving towards better safety, there are still significant barriers. These include getting employees to take responsibility for their own health and safety, the lack of effective safety leadership within organisations, the need for better competence-based training and common standards across the industry.

"Safety is paramount and the industry has a fundamental duty to make sure that its people are competent and trained to the best possible standards," said David Doig, chief executive of Opito International. "If we were dealing with ignorance the solution would be simple but unfortunately we are still dealing with culture and behaviours as well as local issues, protectionism, legacy, history and "not invented here" syndromes.

"Our aim is to achieve buy-in from the industry globally for one set of common standards to improve safety for every worker, no matter where they operate in the world. We have to move beyond the barricades and make sure that the obstacles highlighted in the research are overcome once and for all if we are to prevent accidents and save lives."

The study underlines that employees still do not understand their responsibilities when it comes to safety and better communication within organisations is required to instil greater ownership of safety.

Safety leadership is cited as the biggest hurdle and respondents believe that, until safety is driven from the top and not just from within the HSE department, a step-change will not happen.

Improved dialogue and conversation between all the various trade bodies and associations around the world was also cited as a way of improving safety.
The majority of respondents believed that a global approach to safety standards would make a positive difference. However many felt that unless governments and organisations sign up to this in a meaningful way it would not happen.
The research will inform Opito’s work towards its goal of rolling out global standards for safety and competency that would ensure every worker, anywhere in the world is trained to the same standards.

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