Welcome to the WIG Podcast.
In this episode we talk to Duncan Tee (D) and Nicky Elphinstone (N), members of the Workforce Involvement Group (WIG) discuss the importance of offshore workforce involvement and what it means to them personally.
D: Thanks for logging onto this podcast. My name is Duncan Tee, I work offshore for Maersk FPSO’s as both a Marine Supervisor and OIM, and I am also a member of the Workforce Involvement Group, or WIG, as we tend to call it.
D: I have here with me Nicky Elphinstone who is the most recent member to join WIG as a workforce representative, and between us we hope to give you an insight to the work we do and why we think Workforce Involvement is so important to driving up safety standards offshore.
D: Nicky would you like to introduce yourself?
N: Thanks, Duncan. As some people may have guessed I am an Aberdonian, or as many offshore would call me a ‘fit liker’.
I have been working offshore in catering since 1993, where I became a safety rep and have been ever since, and am currently employed on the Elgin/Franklin Installation with ESS. As you mentioned I joined WIG a year or so ago.
D: I know Workforce Involvement is something you are passionate about Nicky, why is it so important to you?
N: Basically Duncan, all the statistics I have seen for workplaces with little or no workforce involvement show that the safety performance suffers. In my experience the safest installations and even organisations are those where everybody gets involved and plays their part.
D: I couldn’t agree with you more. That’s why it’s important to promote workforce involvement.
While I have you here, could I ask you about your own little journey on Elgin/Franklin with regard to training?
N: Certainly, if you go back 2 or 3 years our training we were affording our reps was possibly not as good as it could have been. By working together as a workforce with offshore and onshore management, we were able to turn things around. This involved setting up workshops to allow reps from a host of workplaces to identify what they and their OIM’s thought would be the best training that reps could receive to suit the workforce and the installations needs. The results never happened overnight, but through having everybody involved and working together the end result was fantastic.
D: That’s good to hear Nicky, and is a really positive message, but if you’ll forgive me for saying it ‘it’s not exactly rocket science is it?’
N: Exactly Duncan, that would be my main point. It’s all about a commitment from everybody to make it happen, pulling together towards a common goal. If you cast your mind back to our WIG Event at Inverurie, when Willie Watt from Kittiwake spoke about this very subject. He explained how the workforce had taken ownership of the platform safety committee and responsibility for the platform action monitoring of safety performance. And I don’t think anyone who attended could forget their ‘Who wants to be a safety millionaire quiz?’, that they run at their weekly safety meetings. It lightened up the proceedings but really hammered home a serious safety message. I would strongly recommend anybody listening to log onto Willie Watt’s presentation that is here on the WIG Website.
D: And don’t forget your own excellent presentation from the Marriott last year! Yes, I totally agree, what really impressed me from Kittiwake is the way they introduced site inspections linked to safety case major accidents hazards. This something that we also do on my installation.
N: Yeah, but the lasting message for me, from Willie’s talk was the real improvement they have seen in their safety performance.
D: I suppose it really emphasises the earlier point about it being the simple things that can have real benefit.
Turning to WIG, could you say a bit on why you got involved, and what you think its relevance is to workers on the frontline as it were.
N: I suppose it was mainly through my work with Step Change and attending the WIG Event at Murrayfield a couple of years ago when I saw first hand how as individuals we all had a contribution to make. When a vacancy became available I was more than happy to accept the invitation from Julie Voce who was chair of WIG at the time.
About the relevance of WIG, I think it lies in the people who sit on it, who collectively represent all the parties we have offshore. By that I mean the Unions, Employers, HSE, Drilling, Safety Reps etc. With so many bases being covered, the workforce have a real voice. During the last two seminars held at the Marriott and Thainstone, the feedback from the safety reps, in fact all who attended really, concerning the training matrix for reps was fantastic. This among other initiatives is where I think WIG is making a real difference to the workforce offshore.
D: Thanks for your input Nicky; I would just like to close out by thanking you the listener for your attention. Also in closing, may I emphasise that the success of WIG relies on people like yourselves continuing to tell us about your concerns and the challenges you are facing every day. Also, we need to know about all the good things that are going on so we can spread the word. By working together I am convinced that we can make our industry a safer place.