When you read the offshore industry guidelines on managing skills and knowledge under SEMS, one of the first things that jumps out at you is the need to make sure the evaluators of offshore personnel are qualified.
As background, SEMS requires that operators verify that their contractors have the skills and knowledge to do their jobs safely and effectively. Earlier this year, the Center for Offshore Safety came out with guidelines to help companies develop a Skills and Knowledge Management System (SKMS) and some operators will make having an SKMS a require for their contractors. Section 8.1.2 of the guidelines says companies need a way to determine assessor (evaluator) qualifications.
Why is that so important? It is because experience has shown that in any assessment system evaluators, administrators, instructors and proctors are the weak link. Sometimes the people who are being evaluated or tested do cheat, but the hardest fraud to control is caused by the people who control the evaluation process. Here are some recent headlines highlighting fraud by the people who were supposed to be safeguarding the system:
Navy sidelines 30 nuclear instructors suspected of cheating – The Navy says it caught 30 staff members at an elite school fudging the test that allows people to train students to work on nuclear submarines.
Facing fraud investigation, Palo Alto Utilities changes tests for gas workers – An office worker told authorities his boss told him to fill out 30 test forms for workers to help them pass their pipeline operator qualification evaluations.
School Proctor and Admissions Officer Plead Guilty in Student Financial Aid Fraud Scheme – The FBI says school officials falsified test results to help students who had not finished high school qualify for aid at a trade school.
The message is that the people who perform evaluations, observe testing or administer programs have a unique opportunity to commit fraud. That is why the COS recommends that companies make sure their assessors are qualified and that the program is audited. It is also why you can expect operators to pay close attention to whether contractors are meeting those requirements.
Those are features of our SEMSReady™ skills and knowledge classes and follow up program. In our classes, we focus on teaching companies how to develop objective evaluations that measure and document quantifiable skills. We teach administrators and evaluators the importance of accurate, measurable skills and knowledge assessments. Finally, we are able to audit results to make sure the process is being followed.