The oil and gas industry has a reputation for being one of the most safety focused sectors in the world. Millions of pounds have been invested over the years to improve work practices, technologies, designs and regulation in the drive to mitigate risk, reduce accidents and prevent injury.
Having the workforce trained to the same, fit-for-purpose safety standards has arguably been the most significant element. Hand in glove, it is also the biggest ongoing challenge when you look at the combination of companies, multiple nationalities, wide range of ages and experience in the mix.
The UK embraced the “one common standard” and framework approach to support personnel going to work and coming home safely many years ago. While numerous other countries are now doing the same, there is still much work to be done for OPITO and the industry to realise this global vision.
The Gulf of Mexico basin is amongst the most developed in the world. While it has been vigilant in developing programmes to improve the safety of its workers, especially in the drilling and completion areas, it has now turned its attention to what skills and training the workforce requires.
To work offshore in the UKCS, personnel must have the Basic Offshore Induction Emergency Training certification with Compressed Air Emergency Breathing System (BOSIET with CA-EBS). The
CA-EBS breathing system was introduced in 2014.
For companies operating in warm water environments who seek the assurance of their workforce being trained to the OPITO benchmark, Tropical BOSIET (T-BOSIET) provides the training requirement.
For the past four years, North Sea workers have been trained on land to use the breathing kit. Following recent amendments to the BOSIET with CA-EBS training standard, participants now deploy and breathe from the equipment underwater up to the recommended 0.7 metre depth.
The BOSIET standard is also available digitally allowing delegates to carry out two days of the three-day programme online before progressing to the practical sessions.
Last year alone, more than 24,000 personnel undertook the BOSIET with CA-EBS training to be able to travel to and from work safely by helicopter in the UKCS.
All these successes and developments have been noted by the OPITO Americas Industry Forum. These productive meetings provide the mechanism for industry to address its
challenges and together map out the best way forward. The original forum was started in the early 2000s in the UK and regional groups have since been formed in the Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific regions.
As a result, the Americas forum has requested that a new T-BOSIET training standard is created to incorporate the CA-EBS equipment, enabling the workforce to travel offshore in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico with compressed air systems. This will also give the workforce greater freedom of movement between carrying out roles in the Americas and across the world. The same conversations are also beginning in Asia Pacific.
Looking at ways we can support personnel to transfer between regions will continue to play an important factor in creating a smarter, more efficient safety and training environment for all.