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Oil and Gas / Specialist Emergency Response / Helideck and Emergency Response Teams

Offshore Emergency Response Team Leader Initial Training

OPITO Standard

Product Code: 4600

Who is this Product for?

This Product is for personnel who are appointed to, or to be appointed to, the role of an Offshore Emergency Response Team Leader.

The oil and gas industry recognises that a major objective is to prevent incidents occurring, and if they do occur to control them and minimise their effect. It is important therefore to set common standards in emergency response and to ensure that they are maintained. Before personnel can be assessed against the standards they will require the knowledge and skills to enable them to carry out the emergency response tasks involved. They will require emergency response training and practice before being assessed.

The purpose of this Product is to set out the basic training, further practice and assessment requirements for Offshore Emergency Response Team Leaders which will be conducted at an onshore training centre. The learner should recognise that this is only part of a broader training programme. There will also be company and installation-specific emergency response training, most of which will be conducted offshore on a regular basis as offshore drills and exercises.

For the purposes of this Product the definition of an Offshore Emergency Response Team Leader is a person who:

  • Has responsibility for an individual Emergency Response Team
  • May take responsibility for more than one team as the Senior Team Leader

Appointment of OERTLs

The Installation, MODU or vessel Duty Holder is responsible for ensuring that personnel appointed to the Offshore Emergency Response Team Leader (OERTL) role have received sufficient training and gained relevant experience to undertake the role competently and safely.

The Duty Holder must ensure that, apart from the provision of onshore training, workplace training is provided and competence assessment is conducted.

OPITO-certified OERTL Training

(1) The OERTL Initial Training – which will be conducted at an onshore training centre
(2) The OERTL Further Training – this programme involves updating and refreshing relevant knowledge and undertaking practical emergency response training in the OERTL role not able to be conducted offshore. OERTL learners will also undertake further practical training in the OERTM role during the practical exercises where they are not required to perform the role as OERTL

Workplace Training and Assessment

In addition to the onshore-based training, company and site-specific training and assessment will typically be conducted offshore. 

OERTL emergency response training that can be conducted offshore will be conducted on a regular basis during drills and exercises. Workplace OERTL Competence guidance for duty holders is specified in the OERTL Workplace Competence document.

Note: This Product does not include practical training for accommodation fires involving ventilation fire in compartments where backdraft potential exists. Other specialist training exists in this area and should be undertaken where deemed necessary.

What does this Product cover?

This Product aims to equip the learner with the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills to perform the role of Offshore Emergency Response Team Leader effectively.

Entry Requirements

The prerequisites for this training programme are:

a) A valid Initial Offshore Emergency Response Team Member Training (OERTM) certificate


b) A valid Further Offshore Emergency Response Team Member Training certificate.

Medical entry requirements

Training activities contained within this Product may include physically demanding and potentially stressful elements. All personnel who participate in such activities must be capable of participating fully.

Therefore, OPITO-approved training centres are required, as a minimum, to ensure that prior to participating in practical exercises the learner is declared fit, in that they

a)Possess a valid, current offshore medical certificate or

b)Possess an operator approved medical certificate or

c)Undergo medical screening by completing an appropriate medical screening form provided by the OPITO-approved Centre

The OPITO-approved Centre shall keep a record of the learners’ declaration(s) of fitness in accordance with their document control policy(s) or procedures. This information, along with summary details of the type of physical activities the learner will be asked to perform, will be given to learners by the OPITO approved Centre and, if applicable, to their sponsoring company as part of the joining instructions. The responsibility for declaring any current or pre-existing medical conditions that could have adverse effects to the individual’s state of health while undertaking the training and/or assessment activities lies with the learner and/or company sponsoring the learner. Where doubt exists regarding the fitness of any learner, the OPITO-approved Centre must direct the individual to consult a medical officer familiar with the nature and extent of the training.

Note: Practical exercises must be designed and delivered solely to meet this Product and must not place on the learners any demands other than those required to meet the Product.

Product Achievement Requirements

To achieve the Offshore Emergency Response Team Leader Initial Training the learner will need to complete the mandatory unit.

Guided Learning Hours

24 hours

An approximate ratio of 20% theory to 80% practical is appropriate for this training programme.

What could this Product lead to?

The Offshore Emergency Response Team Leader Further Training Standard


2 years

Please note: If the expiry date on the learners previous certificate is within 3 months prior of the course enrolment date then the date of the new certificate should correspond with the expiry date of the existing/previous certificate unless stated otherwise by the Duty Holder or Asset Owner or Operator.

If you are an OPITO stakeholder, you can request access to a full product specification by contacting OPITO directly via

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