OTC 10: OPITO calls for industry-wide standardized safety training

A call for standardized safety training across the entire offshore petroleum industry – particularly in light of the ongoing Gulf of Mexico mobile rig explosion and oil spill – was made Wednesday at a press conference held by UK-based OPITO International at OTC 2010.

Offshore staff

HOUSTON -- A call for standardized safety training across the entire offshore petroleum industry – particularly in light of the ongoing Gulf of Mexico mobile rig explosion and oil spill – was made Wednesday at a press conference held by UK-based OPITO International at OTC 2010.

Though he gave no specific examples, David Doig, OPITO group chief executive, said there appears to be a significant shortfall in standardized basic safety and competency training among US oil companies operating offshore, as well as among contract drillers, oilwell service providers and other subcontractors.

OPITO, a leading worldwide setter of offshore workforce safety and competency standards with headquarters in Aberdeen, introduced a Minimum Industry Safety Training (MIST) program, developed jointly for UK Continental Shelf workers jointly by non-profit OPITO, most major North Sea employers and offshore workforce training centers. The goal of the program is to improve efficiency and to standardize UKCS safety training.

OPITO plans to roll out the MIST concept across its existing networks in 30 countries. The MIST standard ensures that trainees have the necessary safety awareness and training to avoid risk and, ultimately, incidents. According to Doig, it covers nine basic safety elements, including the core topics of risk assessment and permit to work, with new key safety awareness centered on mechanical lifting and platform integrity.

Initial MIST basic safety training is delivered over two days; however, every existing offshore worker in the UKCS also is to undergo refresher training which is carried out online, which saves industry and employers’ time and eliminates travel costs.

Apparently, the move to standardize safety and competency training comes none too soon.

“The delivery and content of basic safety training varies dramatically from region to region and lacks consistency across the industry,” Doigs said. “Imagine the real step change we would see if every worker offshore was trained to the same high standards?” he asked. “Adopting common standards and engaging the essential support too apply them uniformly across the industry is a challenge, but OPITO is up for it and believes the industry is, too.”

As the industry’s recognized global safety and training standards setter, OPITO oversees the operations of some 59 approved training providers around the world. These centers have trained more than 100,000 offshore workers ranging from the entry level to highly skilled specialists.

In the 12 months, Doig said, the organization has received requests to be considered for OPITO approval from five training centers in the US alone.

05/05/2010

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