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Offshore safety ‘must be simpler’

Offshore safety ‘must be simpler’
A health and safety boss at oil giant Shell yesterday called for equipment and training given to North Sea workers to be simplified.

A health and safety boss at oil giant Shell yesterday called for equipment and training given to North Sea workers to be simplified.

Kieron McFadyen, executive vice-president for health, safety and the environment, said the personal-protective equipment (PPE) given to offshore workers was too complicated and could be confusing.

He told Offshore Europe delegates during a breakfast briefing: “PPE is something I worry about, especially in the North Sea; it is too complicated.

“You put on the survival suit, you watch the video and you get all the equipment, but I find the whole thing too complex. When I do it I often ask myself if I did it right, and I keep coming away from these training exercises with the feeling that when it comes to basic codes of conduct and PPE, we make it too complicated.”

Mr McFadyen added that, although it was important to make training easier to understand, there was a danger this could also go too far.

Jake Molloy, regional organiser of the RMT union, disagreed that the training was too complex. He said: “The basic offshore survival course is as straightforward as it can be. Mr McFadyen is perhaps talking about different, more advanced types of courses, but the basic course is exactly that.

“What could be improved is the number of times offshore workers have to take the course; the people who have done it once rarely want to do it again, and I think if you do it a certain amount of times there should be a qualification which means you don’t have to take it again.”

A spokeswoman for Oil and Gas UK said the industry body felt the appropriate equipment was available for the North Sea’s harsh conditions. She said: “We believe we have the necessary equipment available and the right training in place to ensure offshore workers know how to use that equipment.

“Both the training and the equipment are to regulation standard, and it has to be adequate for the North Sea environment.”

Mr McFadyen had earlier told delegates that the oil and gas industry had to work together for safety in the sector to improve.

He said: “We at Shell continually strive for improvements, and I hope you agree that continued open and proactive sharing across our industry is key for us all.

“After all, if one of us fails, we all fail and it impacts us all. There’s no doubt that our safety performance is much better today than it was, but is that really good enough? I think we are all aligned: one incident is one too many.”

The four-day Offshore Europe show at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre ends today.

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