Step Change in Safety, a UK-based partnership body formed by oil and gas trade associations, has unveiled a new learning programme to improve awareness of safety among workers in offshore oil and gas fields in order to reduce hydrocarbon leaks.

Launched as a series of learning packs the new programme, called ‘Joined-up Thinking’, will provide ‘best practice’ advice linked to different areas of offshore safey, such as asset integrity, competence, human factors and workforce engagement.

Step Change in Safety team leader Les Linklater said that the purpose of bringing various strands of expertise together is to reach out to the workforce and make them think differently about safety when they are aboard offshore oil platforms.

"The message we’re trying to get through is that, regardless of their role, everyone has a part to play. This is true in all aspects of safety, including preventing leaks. It’s not necessarily ‘someone else’s job’," Linklater added.

The packs will have presentation material and a short video that are expected to take about 30 minutes to deliver. They will also include tool box talks, representing both onshore and offshore sectors and a Facebook link to encourage further interaction.

The new engagement programme forms part of the offshore industry’s drive to bring down the number of hydrocarbon leaks, which, according to Linklater, are precursors to potential major incidents.

"The new engagement programme forms part of the offshore industry’s drive to bring down the number of hydrocarbon leaks."

"Huge progress has already been made, with the number of major and significant hydrocarbon releases at an all time low," said Linklater.

"We can’t be complacent and we know that we have to continue to reach out to the workforce at every level in order to engage and enthuse them in the safety effort if we are to continue on the path of improvement."

Step Change in Safety said it will publish future Joined-up Thinking packs every second month, with a focus on major accident hazards and safety critical elements, small bore tubing, remembering piper alpha, reporting and lessons learned, pipework, control of work and joints.

Image: The new packs aim to reduce hydrocarbon leaks alongside creating safety awareness among the offshore workforce. Photo courtesy of US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.