Contractor Safety and Competence ID’d as Big SEMS Challenges

Contractor involvement pops up as a major concern with offshore safety management programs in a new survey.   The survey, released by DecomWorld to promote its upcoming conference on offshore safety management, was based on responses from more than 425 operators and contractors.    It is a good indicator of what the people who are responsible for implementing the safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) rules in the U.S.  see as the challenges ahead.    You can access the report here.

Among the findings:

  • Of the top six challenges the industry faces in implementing safety management offshore, four of them involved getting contractors aligned with operator HSE programs, ensuring their personnel have the skills and knowledge to do the job and managing the operations of multiple companies on site.   One of the top six challenges involved safety culture, which also should involve contractors.
  • Asked to look five years out, respondents indicated that the big longer-term challenges will be competence and risk management.
  • The respondents also said that staff competence and getting buy in from the operational front line were big issues within their own safety management programs.

On that last point, I can say from first hand experience that getting the people who are actually on the front lines doing the work to understand SEMS is a big and frequently unrecognized problem.    Recently in meetings with both oil companies and contractors, I have heard stories of well-designed SEMS plans that are not being properly implemented on the facilities themselves.   That is why with my company, I have focused on programs that meet SEMS, but also can be accomplished by the people who need them most, the offshore crews.

The 3rd Offshore Safety Conference will be held in Houston from September 29th to October 1st.   I am pleased to be speaking at the conference on the topic of skills and knowledge under SEMS and strategies for implementing them within contractor companies.   You can learn more about the conference here.   

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