OPITO: U.S. needs to adopt common offshore safety standards

Oil and gas skills and workforce development organization OPITO has called out to the U.S. oil and gas sector to fully adopt industry standards to improve safety across the Gulf of Mexico in line with other areas in the world.

The industry body addressed attendees at the OTC conference in Houston on Tuesday, May 2, during a technical session on approaches to improving health, safety, and environment performance.

OPITO speakers highlighted the need for its International Offshore Emergency Response Framework to be implemented in the region to ensure personnel are equipped to react in the same way when life-threatening situations occur.

Albert Skiba, OPITO’s vice president for the Gulf of Mexico, and approvals manager Richard Edwards said that, on average, 80 percent of accidents in the offshore oil and gas sector are the result of human error. They added that the loss of approximately 350,000 jobs diversified the oil and gas industry and created a greater need for consistency in workforce safety.

Skiba said: “The Gulf of Mexico has been vigilant in developing programs to improve the safety of the drilling and completion process, but it has not applied the same due diligence to implementing common standards to keep its workers safe and competent.

“Employers need to provide clarity, so personnel know what is expected of them when operating across borders and in partnership with other organizations.

“Despite the Gulf of Mexico being amongst the most developed regions in the world, it is yet to take up the OPITO framework which has been widely adopted by 45 oil and gas producing regions internationally. These common standards show how the competency of personnel in emergency response situations can be developed, demonstrated, and maintained.

“As an industry, we have to be proactive rather than reactive to incidents and head any off potential problems at the pass. A pan-industry approach is the only way to ensure this is addressed so employees know exactly what to do and all react in the same way when an incident occurs. After all, every worker deserves to get to work and return home safely.”

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