Les Larchet (LL): Hello, I’m Les Larchet. I am a member of the Workforce Involvement Group, or WIG, as it is known. With me is Frank Cairney, Offshore Installations Manager (OIM) on the Kittiwake platform, who is going to share some his thoughts on workforce involvement….. Hello Frank.
Frank Cairney (FC): Hi Les, great to be here.
LL: So Frank, why is workforce involvement so important to you?
FC: I firmly believe Workforce Involvement is critical to improve our Safety Performance from a ‘Human Factor’ perspective offshore. We are very good at implementing engineering and procedural solutions to safety issues, but the final hurdle we have to overcome is the complicated subject of the Human influence, if we want to find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
LL: I quite agree Frank. So what is the key to moving forward?
FC: Part of the greater solution must be improved communications, better lateral learning, and involvement by the workforce, thus giving greater ownership. WIG, in my opinion, has an important role in furthering this.
Learning from others, listening to issues and solutions from other installations, and just talking to peers and Safety Reps from other companies, can go a long way to enhancing our own Safety Culture, by increasing our own knowledge base. Hopefully recent involvement by my guys, can help motivate others in their push for a safer workplace.
LL: Were you surprised by the findings of the recent SI 971 Inspection Programme by HSE? I know I was a bit disappointed by the gaps they found in some places, especially with regard to providing training, effective consultation, and the fact that there are still concerns about 'a them and us' culture on some installations.
FC: Unfortunately, not all platforms or rigs have as good a Safety Culture as I believe we have built on Kittiwake. There is definitely still work to be done. In some places, they even seem to have forgotten some of the good stuff they did in the past.
LL: So where do you think it can go wrong Frank?
FC: All too often ‘Safety’ is made to sound complicated, and it isn’t. It can be distilled into a basic approach, and that’s what we try to do. It allows better understanding of the subject by the whole of our core crew, and more importantly of the transient workforce made up of visitors and vendors who come on-board. Safety is not a core crew issue, it’s a platform issue, thus this holistic approach, in my opinion, is critical as an OIM.
We don’t see ourselves as doing something special, but if we are on to something that works, why not share it across the patch for the greater good? I see that as an important part of my job too!
LL: WIG has been concentrating on identifying good practice and bringing the workforce together to share in it, do you think we have got it right?
FC: Without a doubt Les. The offshore community is a tight-knit one and we should all be working more closely towards a common purpose. I see WIG as being a real catalyst to achieving this. The WIG members I have tied in with are all passionate about Safety and workforce involvement, and this is evident at the away days. This passion stimulates attendees to become involved, and recognise they aren’t alone when it comes to having issues. Most importantly, it highlights that there are fixes available, and they are with people with the influence and the will to change things.
LL: Any thoughts on why the WIG events have worked so well Frank?
FC: Well Les, what has impressed me so far about WIG is that the forum is never condescending, neither talking down to the attendees or going through the motions ‘just to put a tick in the box’. That can sometimes happen at these sorts of events when Safety is the subject matter. It’s a group of experienced individuals from across the industry, coupled with the Safety Regulator who together strives to encourage the ‘I’ part of their group title, as they recognise ‘Involvement’ is key to improving safety.
LL: What would be your parting message to fellow offshore workers then Frank?
FC: Together we can make offshore a safer place to work, but it requires companies and individuals within these organisations to fully acknowledge that ‘Workforce Involvement’ isn’t a theme of the month, it’s here to stay. It’s not just for OIM’s and Safety Reps, it’s for everyone.
LL: On behalf of WIG, I would just like to thank you for taking the time to come and share your thoughts with us Frank.