Safety Statistics Still not Good Enough says OPITO, despite improvements in the Middle-east


4th November 2014

Global safety standards body, OPITO, says safety in the oil and gas industry is still not good enough despite a five year improvement in the Middle-east.

At its fifth annual safety and competence conference (OSCC 2014) in Abu Dhabi today (4 November 2014), OPITO called for more effective leadership to prevent fatal accidents, lost time incidents and near-misses.

David Doig, group chief executive of OPITO, said: “The latest figures from the association of oil and gas producers (OGP) reveal that there were 88 fatalities in the industry across the world in 2012 with LTIs (lost-time incidents) increasing by 12%. This is simply not good enough. There are a number of common causal factors, one of which is inadequate standards. This need not be the case if OPITO standards, recognised as the best in the world, were adopted by every employer in every oil and gas region in the world.”

However, he pointed to a five year rolling average in the Middle-east which shows a marked improvement in the reduction of accidents between 2007 and 2012.

“OPITO has been active in the Middle-east since 2005. Our standards are being rolled out by the major employers and we are working closely with industry and regional governments to develop a safer workforce through positive changes in behaviour through our standards’ framework.

“I am not suggesting that this five year rolling improvement in the region is all down to OPITO but I do believe there is a correlation between the increase in uptake of our training standards and the decrease in fatal and other accidents.”

As a proponent for change, OPITO works all over the world in its drive for the implementation of common global safety standards. 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.

“The measurement is vital because it’s about the impact of the change, rather than the process of change itself” explained Mr Doig. “OPITO can lay the groundwork but 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.”

OSCC 2014 focused on leadership with a handful of inspirational leaders from different industries and different walks of life outlining how they successfully brought about behavioural change, by battling against adversity, breaking down resistance and shifting mindsets.

Held in the Fairmont Bab al Bahr Hotel, Abu Dhabi, OSCC is the only global event wholly focused on safety and competence in the oil and gas industry. It brings together industry leaders, government bodies, regulators and training providers to share new thinking and best practice.

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 OSCC 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.

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