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RR637 - Optimising hazard management by workforce engagement and supervision

Offshore oil and gas duty holders have recognised that a lack of skilled workforce, change to shorter working hours and increase in activity can lead to an erosion of health and safety unless balanced by significant increase in level of training and supervision. The way forward suggested in this report is based on:

  1. improving comprehension of major hazards by the workforce; and
  2. optimising the management processes such as balancing workforce competence and level of supervision.

By improving comprehension of major hazards the workforce itself can play a central role in safety case preparation by being involved in identifying real improvements in safety that are reasonable and based on the day-to-day grass-roots operational experience of various disciplines. Workforce involvement in optimising safety management processes not only increases the experience of the group of workers who can contribute to the process (contributory expertise), but also of other groups of workers who acquire interactional expertise. Safety optimisation can be applied to any process by challenging the existing situation along the lines ‘what more can we do’, or ‘how can we do it better’, etc. Evaluating complexity of protection systems is based on understanding the work that has to be done to maintain, control and operate protective systems, and the available competence.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2010-01-27