Safety Standards Body Says Effective Leadership Needed to Drive a Step-Change in Safety in the Global Oil & Gas Industry


21st October 2014

At the fifth annual OPITO Safety and Competence Conference (OSCC 2014), the chief executive of safety standards body, OPITO, will warn the industry that staying the same is simply not good enough and more effective leadership is required to drive a step-change in safety across the global oil and gas industry.

David Doig, group chief executive of OPITO, will make his comments at the start of this year’s OSCC, which is being held on the 4th of November in the Fairmont Bab al Bahr Hotel, Abu Dhabi. The only global event wholly focused on safety and competence in the oil and gas industry, OSCC will bring together industry leaders, government bodies, regulators and training providers to share new thinking and best practice.

Mr Doig said: “The global oil and gas industry has to change in its approach to safety and competence. Staying the same is simply not good enough. Despite improvements, too many major and minor incidents and accidents are still happening from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Sea, from the Middle-east to South-east Asia.”

As a proponent for change, OPITO works all over the world in its drive for the implementation of common global safety standards. These standards are proven to deliver positive changes in behaviour leading to a safer workforce. OPITO’s standards framework, now adopted by major international and national oil and gas companies in 40 countries, ensures employers change the way in which people think about workforce development in relation to safety and then accurately measure the improvements. This is vital because it’s about the impact of the change, rather than the process of change itself.

Mr Doig added: “But OPITO can only lay the groundwork, it is the employers themselves who will ultimately drive long-term, high value change. And this needs strong, committed, courageous leadership. When organisations start talking about change, people inevitably become apprehensive, even fearful, and often disillusioned and disengaged. It takes bold and inspirational leaders to make change happen effectively, to bring people on board and make them part of that change; to ensure that they embrace it rather than fear it. New ways of doing things will only actually happen if people understand why they need to change and the benefit that change will have on them and those who work with them.

“That is why this year’s OSCC will focus on leadership. We have brought together a handful of truly inspirational leaders from different industries and different walks of life who will outline how they have successfully brought about behavioural change, by battling against adversity, breaking down resistance and shifting mindsets.

In a world exclusive, conference sponsor Shell will outline how the multi-national exploration and production company is stepping up its approach to leadership in safety, through a new global programme.

Simon Roddy and Marco Hanzsch of Shell will be joined on the panel by army officer and commentator on conflicts - Bob Stewart, mountaineer - Karen Darke, and globally recognised motivational speaker - Peter Cohen.

Mr Doig concluded: “The nature of our industry which operates some of the most complex technology in some of the most hazardous areas in the world, dictates that there will always be risk. It is how we effectively prepare and support our people to reduce the risks that ultimately dictates our success. Join us at OSCC to learn how our industry can implement the change required, so that every onshore and offshore worker anywhere in the world is fully aware of how to prevent accidents, incidents and near misses.”

The conference, which is expected to attract over 400 delegates, will be officially opened by Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, the Minister of Energy for the United Arab Emirates. It provides a unique opportunity to hear from safety leaders from other industries, learn about new thinking, find out more about global standards and new training practices and network with industry decision-makers who are committed to making the oil and gas sector safer for every employee, anywhere in the world.

There is now less than a month to go until OSCC 2014. Registration for the conference is free and there are limited places still available. To register, log on to

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