Integrated Safety and Technical Competency Training for New Oil Spill Responders
- Xin Dong (Oil Spill Response)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Middle East Health, Safety, Security, and Environment Conference and Exhibition, 2-4 April, Abu Dhabi, UAE
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 6.5.5 Oil and Chemical Spills, 4.3.4 Scale, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 6.1 HSSE & Social Responsibility Management, 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training, 7.2.1 Risk, Uncertainty and Risk Assessment, 7.2.5 Emergency Preparedness and Training
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The objective of the paper is to introduce the integrated safety and technical competency training provided to new staff in Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL). Oil spill response is not only associated with generic operational risks, but also special risks due to the emergency nature of the tasks. New employees in such response organisations, depending on their years of experience and the area of previous work, have broadly varied ability in safety management. The significant number of responders recruited after the Macondo incident leads to a notable dilution of safety skill and technical skill in the company. This paper demonstrates how OSRL addressed this issue by using a matrix training model.
The aim of running this model is to train people into competent spill response specialists with well-built safety skills. All the new recruits are put through the training the first year after they join the organisation. The model is divided into three stages: induction and initial training, Offline Training program, and Approved Competence Management System (ACMS) appraisal. In each stage, safety training is incorporated at three levels. They are general technical level, specific module level, and assessment level. At the general technical level, candidates receive technical training where safety aspects are added in as an important ingredient. At the specific module level, they attend training which focuses on safety topics. At the assessment level, candidates expect exams or assessment where they are formally tested how they handle safety issues. The training forms a learning curve from awareness to performance to competence.
Following this model, new responders are able to perform the role of spill response specialist in a safe manner and understand the knowledge behind it.
The training model adopted by OSRL provides a comprehensive, solid, and practical approach to address the diluted safety skill issue. It has been successfully implemented and received positive feedbacks. The model structure is applicable to similar organisations, while the concept of matrix training models is applicable to a much wider area. It sets Best Management Practice (BMP) for further implementations in the industry.
Safety has always been set as the first priority in oil spill response organisations. Their work associates with not only generic operational risks, but also special risks due to the emergency nature of the tasks. Compared to routine operation or planned activities, oil spill response deals with accidental spill of oil. The potential devastating environmental impact of a large oil spill requires response to be launched as soon as possible. Response often starts when information is limited and the quality of information varies. The situation may change quickly and the scale of spill incident may escalate suddenly, especially during the initial stage. Moreover, responders from global response organisations like OSRL are often sent to remote and unfamiliar environments. All these would increase the types and level of risks responders would face. Therefore, a high level of safety knowledge and risk management skills are required for all spill response specialists.
New staff in such response organisations may come from a number of different backgrounds, such as marine science, mechanical engineering, environmental engineering, chemical engineering, and other relevant areas. While acknowledging the importance of safety, their ability of managing safety issues vary extensively. Depending on the years of experience and the area they used to work in, considerable difference has been identified in their risk exposure experience, risk assessment ability, equipment operational safety skills, and safety training background. The gaps have to be filled by training programs and other HSE management approaches after they join the organisation.
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