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August 14, 2008

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Oil industry in bid to bring consistency to safety training

The new training standards, which are being introduced on 20 August as part of the industry’s Step Change in Safety initiative, have been developed following concerns raised by the workforce about basic safety competence, particularly for new starts in the industry.

They should also help bring safety improvements by ensuring people are trained consistently, and do not receive repetitive training every time they visit a different installation.

“Currently, basic safety training is carried out to different depths of understanding and covers varying safety elements,” explained John Methven, co-chair of Step Change in Safety. “Every worker on the UKCS is required to complete basic offshore survival training; however, this does not include training on risk assessment, process safety or platform integrity. These elements are normally covered through additional in-house training, but the core content can vary from company to company.”

Nine basic safety elements will be covered, including the core topics of risk assessment and permits to work, as well as new safety training on mechanical lifting and platform integrity. Approved by OPITO – the Oil and Gas Academy, the standards will be rolled out in two phases, the first of which will be available from the end of the year, and will target new starts in the offshore industry.

The second phase will involve the introduction of a new computer-based system designed to identify gaps in the skills of experienced offshore workers. Employees who take this e-learning skills test, which will go live in early 2009, will need to take a refresher every four years.

Methven commented: “By undertaking the new additional elements of basic safety training through a registered training centre, every employee working on an installation on the UKCS will have the same starting level of safety understanding and awareness.”

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