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1999 Annual Report


The Step Change in Safety initiative, introduced in September 1997, aimed to deliver a 50% improvement in the safety performance of the UK Oil and Gas industry. This improvement would be achieved through cross industry sharing and learning, and the engagement of all sectors of the industry. Step Change is now in its third year and looking back over the past couple of years we can see a number of phases to the effort. Step Change in safety - priority taks include engagement with workforcw involvement workshops and setting up cross industry task groups.

During the first year the emphasis was very much on leadership and personal commitment. Resources were made available and personal safety performance contracts were publicised In the second year we moved on to engagement with workforce involvement workshops and the setting up of cross industry task groups to address the priority issues that were identified. Most of these Task Groups have completed their work and the others will do so soon. Some of the most significant achievements that the cross industry task groups have delivered during 1999 include:

Safety Representatives Network

Building on the success of the OIM's Network that was launched the previous year, a Safety representatives Network has been established to assist Safety Representatives communicate across the industry and facilitate their involvement in safety improvement.

Cross Industry Support Team

A dedicated team of four has been established to provide full time support to the Step Change initiative. The team has worked to improve communications across the industry and have helped to co-ordinate the work of the task groups. They have also provided a Helpdesk to provide information and contact details on the various Step Change activities.

Revised Website

The industry website has been revised to provide easy access to information on the progress of task groups and on good practices that companies have found to be effective. The website provides download packages and contact details for more information.

Monthly Flyers

Not everybody has easy access to the website. The monthly flyer has been introduced to help fill this gap. Each month 75,000 copies of the flyer are distributed across the industry onshore and offshore. The flyer provides short articles of useful safety information, good practices, task group progress etc. and advises where to go for more information. This is helping to create an "Offshore pull" for information.

Safety Leadership Training

Safety Leadership Training group has developed a training syllabus and has run two pilot courses. Feedback from these courses has been very positive and arrangements are being made to accredit suitable training providers who will run the course on a commercial basis. The group has also produced a video ‘Safety: Who's responsible?’. This has proved to be very popular with over 1000 copies having been requested from within the UK and overseas.

Common Induction Process

The task group has produced guidelines for a common induction process for the industry. This emphasises induction as a multi stage process with each step building on the previous ones. The guidelines will also help to improve consistency of training and reduce unnecessary repetition for those moving between companies.

Vantage; the Offshore Passport

The task group has developed a ‘smart card’ passport that will provide an industry wide system for tracking POB, recording individual training records and time spent offshore. The first companies are now entering data in to the system. A phased roll out to other companies will take place during Q1 2000.

Rig Floor Safety

The drilling safety group has identified high-risk activities and has produced a range of material to help reduce incidents. These include the safety observation booklet ‘Look This Way’, a campaign to reduce the risk of dropped objects and guidance on tong handling, tubular handling and manual handling.

Behavioural Issues

The behavioural issues task group has been looking at behavioural modification programmes and the factors that led to successful implementation. The group has issued an interim report on the emerging findings. The final report and a practical ‘toolkit’ will be produced during Q1 2000.

Industry Health and Safety Steering Group

Building on the principle of cross industry co-operation, representatives from the UKOOA, OCA and IADC Safety Committees have combined to form a cross industry steering group. This group acts as a clearing house for issues that are of common interest across the industry and identifies how they can be best addressed. Step Change in safety monthly flyers providing safety information, good practices and task group progress.

The networks that Step Change has established to facilitate sharing and learning across the industry are now having an impact beyond the UK sector of the North Sea. The Step Change Support Team has had requests for information from organisations in countries around the world. These include countries around the North Sea and others as far afield as Canada, Gulf of Mexico, Bolivia, India and Australia. Some of these are now in regular contact and are providing information on their good practices as well as looking to learn from ours.

In the third year of Step Change the emphasis has moved on again. Even as the tools and networks were being delivered it was clear that individual behaviour was going to be a critical aspect of improving safety.

The tools and communication networks have established a good foundation to encourage and facilitate safety improvements across the industry. However, they will not in themselves, produce the improvement in safety that we seek. They can provide guidance and can facilitate the process but real improvement will only be delivered by using the widespread commitment to improve safety into action. This is the focus of activity for 2000.

We have made significant progress in changing the way of working together as an industry. There are encouraging signs of greater openness, dialogue and trust. However, the HSE's statistics show that we still have much further to go before this progress shows through in significant improvements in the lagging injury statistics. Nevertheless, we are confident that we have established the basis of a sustainable continuous improvement process. The challenge for 2000 is for us all to make effective use of the tools and networks that have now been put in place.

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