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Workforce Involvement Group (WIG) Podcast
Wednesday 18 July 2012

Personal Responsibility for Safety - A Safety Reps perspective - Bob Scott and Duncan Tee

Duncan Tee: Thanks for logging-on. My name is Duncan Tee, I work offshore as an OIM on the FPSO Foinaven, and I am a member of the Workforce Involvement Group. With me today is Bob Scott, Oil and Gas UK Safety Rep of the year. Would you like to introduce yourself Bob?

Bob Scott: Thanks Duncan. Hello everybody, my name is Bob Scott, Safety Rep for Marathon Oil UK / BIS Salamis, and as Duncan mentioned I also have the honour of being the current Oil and Gas UK Safety Representative of the year.  I would like to talk to you all about Personal Responsibility for Safety (PRFS for short) and Safety Conversations, all from a safety reps perspective, and how this has impacted on the workforce involvement and commitments to safety in the Marathon Brae Field.

DT: Could you maybe say a bit about your work background first Bob?

BS: Yes of course, I started offshore as a Scaffolder back in 1983 on one of the hook up projects, I loved it and I have worked offshore since. Back then, safety was fairly good but could have been a lot better.

DT: So when did you become a Safety Rep?

BS: I got involved as a safety rep about 10 years ago, one of the original safety reps left the Brae field so I decided to volunteer for the role but really did not have a clue what it was all about to be honest!  However, the lads and management kept me right in the beginning.

DT: What has been the most significant change in approach you have seen in recent years?

BS: Personal Responsibility for Safety (PRFS) changed in the Brae Field in 2004. The reps used to meet with management in Aberdeen over 2 days to air any problems raised by the workforce.  No real outcomes were achieved so it was suggested that the meetings might have to stop.  However, the safety teams got their act together and identified soft skills as a tool to help the safety reps fulfil their roles more effectively and engage workforce involvement.

DT: Your proposals were heard then?

BS: Yes, a training company was identified and drafted in, and  from 2005 to 2009 we learned valuable skills including facilitation, investigations, communications, interventions, etc, this was all linked to the reps rolling out the Step Change initiative PRFS to the “core” workforce over a nine month period.  As reps, we felt the workforce appeared more relaxed and genuinely enjoyed the way we put the points over.

DT: So you’ve seen real benefits then?

BS: PRFS has had a positive impact in the field, the most important outcome for our safety reps and management was the safety performance, the falls in all OSHA, HSE reportable and Brae LTA stats have been clear to see for which we are all very proud.

DT: That sounds really encouraging. I assume there have been challenges along the way Bob?

BS: Due to the length of the original modules (9 months), we knew we needed a condensed version to capture the visitors and ad-hoc labour. Again, we the reps set about developing an overview PRFS presentation rolled out to everybody coming to the field at our “meet and greet” sessions.  These sessions have been well received by the entire workforce, to the point that we actually get random visitors thanking us and offering suggestions of “Good practice” from other assets. Recent marathon statistics show that our ad-hoc or short-term visitors rates of involvement in First Aid or injury stats have dropped significantly, and now we often get personnel commenting on the support and training available in the field.  Now that is real workforce involvement in my opinion!

The challenge is to keep the momentum going and move on into the future!

DT: I totally agree Bob. What other things are being looked at?

BS: Safety Conversations have changed track a little bit on the Brae’s. The Safety Training Observation Programme (STOP) that has been in use for 30 yrs, and Marathon adopted this audit tool back in 1994. The driver was to encourage people to be involved in safety conversations, keeping their eyes and ears open to safety behaviours or shortfalls, but also to develop a statistical indication of how healthy our safety culture was.

It was decided that STOP, though providing great value since it was introduced, to some it had become a bit stale. This was being echoed by the transient workforce at our PRFS meet and greet sessions.

DT: That’s really interesting. How was this tackled?

BS: In 2001 ABSA (Advanced Behavioural Safety Audit) was introduced this was a more in depth audit with specific questions and considerations to augment the STOP tool. Training was again provided to encourage safety conversation and interaction. This involved personnel getting out and auditing other groups outside their discipline, fresh eyes and a different perspective could spur new thoughts on the task being audited.

In 2011 at our safety leadership forum it was again decided to enhance the audit tool box by introducing SCC (Safety Conversation Cards) This is what we currently make use of, whilst the STOP and ABSA are still live.  The SCC in essence is a condensed version of both STOP and ABSA, making it both easy and more versatile.

DT: So what is the main improvement in your opinion?

BS: A major improvement with SCC is the addition of a feedback section which the supervisor is obligated to “close the loop”, and provide an immediate response to those concerned. The workforce involvement again is evident by the statistics of SCCs submitted by the guys on the coalface compared to supervision, since we began STOP in 1994, 68500 audits have been performed.

DT: Bob, you have given us some real food for thought. Do you have a final message wearing your Safety Rep hat?

BS:  I would just like to say I have found the experience of being a safety rep extremely interesting, and very rewarding,   and I would encourage anybody considering becoming one,   to please “go on give it a go” you can and will make a difference to safety in your workplace.

DT: Thanks Bob, I think that says it all.

Updated 2012-07-20