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OPITO researches offshore competence gaps

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Oil and gas industry skills body OPITO has commissioned a new study which aims to identify the skills and competence gaps in offshore supervisors and how this impacts on the prevention of major safety incidents.

Researchers at Robert Gordon University are undertaking interviews with current, former and retired offshore installation managers (OIMs) with experience of working in the UK Continental Shelf to gain their insights into the influence of managerial commitment to safety in the offshore industry.

The announcement follows last week's comments by industry leaders at the Oil & Gas UK breakfast that the shortage of experienced staff is potentially jeopardising the North Sea's safety standards as the sector prepares for its biggest boom for 30 years.

The research will look at the role of OIMs in influencing safety amongst the workforce, including their commitment to safety and how this is manifested to the workforce. It will evaluate OIMs involvement in safety activities, their delegation of responsibilities and decision making and the role of previous experience, training, personal behaviours and corporate culture in effective safety leadership. Methods by which operators encourage positive leadership behaviours amongst OIMs will also be identified.

'In his report to establish the cause of the Piper Alpha disaster, Lord Cullen pinpointed that the quality of safety management by operators is fundamental to offshore safety and no amount of detailed regulations for safety improvements could make up for deficiencies in the way that safety is managed by operators,' said Larraine Boorman, managing director of OPITO UK.

The findings of the research will be available in May.



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