Safety champions announced at industry awards

The people and companies making a positive difference to North Sea safety were today (August 17) honoured for their efforts at a key industry event.

The Offshore Safety Awards – organised by Oil & Gas UK and Step Change in Safety with Maersk Oil as principal sponsor – celebrated the work being done to make the industry the safest it can be.

A total of 18 companies and individuals were shortlisted as finalists in six categories. The audience at today’s event then voted by text for who they thought should win after watching the finalists present on their work and seeing video ‘selfies’ that they had also made.

Almost 300 people – which included representatives from across industry, MPs and MSPs and other stakeholders – attended the event which took place at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.

The Award for Safety Leadership – sponsored by Nexen Petroleum and for an inspirational leader who motivates and engages their team to work safely – went to EnQuest Operations Manager Derek Ellington whose leadership has transformed the culture on one of the North Sea’s mature assets. Heather is now seen by peers as a motivational success story.

As Heather Offshore Installation Manager, Derek drove improved standards, coached all individuals on the platform, getting to know them, their values, skills and experience – ensuring they were crystal clear on the high safety standards and expectations. Under his leadership, now as an Operations Manager, Heather has significantly improved its efficiency and productivity while maintaining an excellent safety record.

The Award for Safety Representative of the Year – sponsored by Wood Group and for an enthusiastic and committed safety rep who is driving the safety agenda at their worksite went to Dave Thomson, who was nominated by CAN Group for his firm belief in the importance of protecting all his colleagues who work around him.

The company said the key skills of the Offshore Inspection Engineer and Elected Safety representative are his ability to identify unique and innovative ways to engage, raise awareness and get better understanding of important safety issues. Personable and approachable, he is held in very high esteem by his work colleagues, management and clients alike.

The Award for Innovation in Safety – sponsored by Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore and for a company which has put in place a clever process or technique to improve safety either across an organisation or at an individual worksite – has gone to Baker Hughes which delivered the best HSE performance in the company history: a full year without recordable incidents which it achieved with the help of a novel approach leveraging gamification principles for enhancing HSE engagement.

The company undertook a series of steps that shifted the focus from HSE results, to the actions that drive these results, in order to foster an HSE culture where an incident-free workplace is the norm. It introduced an HSE scorecard focused on safety leadership indicators and gamification, called the HSE Tour of the UK. It was designed along the lines of a multi-stage cycling race in which participants (Product Lines’ teams) race (earn points) throughout the year to complete every stage (month) with the highest score. Every month the results are published displaying the stage score and the overall tour scores. At the end of the first and second half of the year a jersey called Top Dog Jersey is awarded to the team accumulating the most monthly top spots and at the end of the year the Yellow Jersey is awarded to the team that has led the HSE Tour overall.

Reinvigorating their network of Safety Representatives from largely inactive with no central hub of support, into an energised, motivated and actively supported group earned TAQA’s Allan Smillie, the company’s Telecoms Technical Authority, the Award for Workforce Engagement – sponsored by Halliburton, which recognises the active embracement of worker engagement on safety matters.

Recognising the inherent potential of the voluntary network, Allan began a reinvigoration process focused upon engagement, planning and raising awareness. He developed a multi-faceted training programme, introduced video conferences to allow Reps to share information, experiences and lessons. The programme has attracted interest from other operators and major contractors, keen to explore if they can replicate the approach. Similarly, industry organisations are using it to highlight best practice.

Continued commitment and investment in managing and supporting its workforce with the provision of an in-house occupational health service earned Stork, a Fluor company, the Award for Occupational Health – sponsored by Aker Solutions and which recognises an individual/team or company who has taken steps to actively improve the health of its workforce, with clearly demonstrable positive effects.

A need for the facility was identified due to the volume of Stork personnel that, because of their trade, could be exposed to occupational health hazards, and also because Stork has employees working in remote locations The purpose-built facility opened its doors last year and allows the company to tailor its support to the specific needs of the workforce.

A group working to further enhance the safety of offshore helicopter transportation has won the Award for Sharing and Learning – sponsored by Centrica and which recognises an individual/team or company that can demonstrate a learning and sharing culture either within their organisation, or who has made a significant contribution to health and safety through active participation in, or engagement with Oil & Gas UK or Step Change in Safety.

Russell Gould from Bristow Group and Malcom Garrington from CHC Helicopter lead HeliOffshore’s the Health & Usage Monitoring System or HUMS Support workgroup. HUMS are sensor-based systems that measure the health and performance of mission-critical components in aircraft. The workgroup launched HeliOffshore’s Health and Usage Monitoring System Best Practice and Implementation Guides. Their launch is the result of a highly engaged industry putting momentum behind actions that will make the greatest difference to safety and of the collaborative and global approach taken by the HUMs working group.

Mick Borwell, Health, Safety and Environment Policy Director, Oil & Gas UK, said: “The six who emerged triumphant from their category are exceptionally worthy winners carrying out excellent work to further improve North Sea safety. However, all of the finalists in our Offshore Safety Awards are taking steps to make our industry the safest it can be, and all are to be applauded. I hope the many who attended our event today left feeling inspired and armed with fresh ideas to take back to their own workplace to help keep safety at the top of the agenda.”

Les Linklater, Executive Director of Oil & Gas UK, added: “All our finalists and winners are to be congratulated for playing their part to ensure that we continue make improvements in our safety performance as an industry. The format of today’s event was designed to facilitate sharing and learning and I am encouraged to hear from the event attendees that each and every one of them have taken something back to their respective organisations that can help them play their part in making us the safest oil and gas sector in the world. “