HOUSTON – Safety, standards, and workforce development organization OPITO has called for the US oil and gas market to embrace common industry standards, in order to strengthen the safety culture in the Gulf of Mexico.
During a technical session at OTC on approaches to improving health, safety, and environment performance, OPITO officials highlighted the need for its international offshore emergency response framework to be implemented in the region.
This would ensure, the officials argued, that personnel are equipped to react in the same way when life threatening situations occur.
Albert Skiba, OPITO’s vice president Gulf of Mexico, and approvals manager Richard Edwards said that on average, 80% of accidents in the offshore oil and gas sector were down to human error.
Since the downturn, and its attendant 350,000 job losses, the oil and gas industry globally had become more diverse, they added, bringing a need for greater consistency in workforce safety.
According to Skiba, “In a post-Macondo world, the Gulf of Mexico has been vigilant in developing programs to improve the safety of the drilling and completion process but it has not applied the same due diligence to implementing common standards to keep its workers safe and competent.
“Employers need to provide clarity so personnel know what is expected from them when operating across borders and in partnership with other organizations.”
Despite the GoM being amongst the most developed offshore regions in the world, he added, “it is yet to take up the OPITO framework which has been widely adopted by 45 oil and gas producing regions internationally.
“These common standards show how the competency of personnel in emergency response situations can be developed, demonstrated and maintained. As an industry, we have to be proactive rather than reactive to incidents and head any off potential problems at the pass.
“A pan-industry approach is the only way to ensure this is addressed so employees know exactly what to do and all react in the same way when an incident occurs. After all, every worker deserves to get to work and return home safely.”