‘Don’t be tempted to cut safety corners in $50-barrel oil world’ warns UK industry chief

Steve Witte, Petrofac crisis-management team leader
Steve Witte, Petrofac crisis-management team leader

The head of the UK’s offshore petroleum industry training board called on the industry not to cut corners on safety training and competence in the new world of $50-barrel oil.

David Doig, Chief Executive, OPITO warned: “With operators looking for ways to cut costs in the current climate it is imperative that there are no compromises when it comes to ensuring the safety of the workforce.

“It is a challenging time but the economic conditions cannot be a reason to relax standards – not when the cost of making mistakes are too high in terms of loss of life or damage to the environment.

“Hazards and risk remain the same regardless of the oil price and a lower crude oil price must not mean that they are managed differently. 

“It is the smart organisations who realise that in times of turbulence, a highly skilled, safe and motivated workforce is critical to remain competitive. Production operations will continue as will the need for maintenance.

“If we take a cynical view that maintenance activities will be reduced then the need to ensure the workforce is trained and competent becomes even greater.”

Meanwhile, Petrofac Training Services has launched a series of HR-related training courses, enabling companies to look after their most important asset in the event of an emergency – people.

Covering evacuation training, next of kin notification, and family liaison training, the courses are available in Aberdeen – and, for the first time – in Norwich.

Steve Witte, a team leader within Petrofac’s crisis-management department, said: “Industry emergency response plans and exercises tend to focus on the initial response and getting people to a place of safety and do not go into the finer details of the associated ‘people support’ that is required.  This means that gaps in structure, communications and resource availability are not identified.

“We are facing challenging financial constraints within the industry and so, following feedback from our customers, we are pleased to offer public courses, enabling companies to purchase individual slots, thereby minimising costs.”

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