This section of the website presents articles and information that deal with safety. And in the marine and offshore world much is said and written about it. How do we keep the people involved in the marine business and the offshore oil industry safe, uninjured and alive so that they can return to their families at the end of their tour of duty?
This is a topic that occupies the management of the industry variously, and they become more interested subsequent to a major disaster and less interested when times are hard.
The reality is that there are a variety of ways in which people should be kept safe and here I'll quote the Sheriff of Dundee when he was writing the report about the loss of the life of two men on the Glomar Arctic IV in 1998. In response to the statements by many of the tradesmen working on the rig at the time "that you had to be your own safety officer" he said "many of these experienced tradesmen went on to demonstrate how singularly ineptly they were equipped to take on the role".
I only use this quotation to suggest that the frequent statement by management of oil rigs and ships that "you are the person who has to ensure your own safety" may not be quite correct. At an occupational safety level the workforce has to be trained to keep itself safe. Its processes and procedures should be based on training so that the operations being undertaken start from the point that would allow them to tick box No 1 "Are the members of the work group trained to carry out this task". But hang on, have we ever seen this requirement written out anywhere?
From that point we go on to consider the right of personnel to "stop work" - the stop work authority which seems to exist almost universally. This authority can only be even moderately effective if the workforce is adequately trained, otherwise how could they know when the job should be stopped. And - moving on - how on earth could a seaman working on the deck of a ship be able to stop the job in terms of the adequacy of the vessel's stability?
And now lets consider major accidents - of which loss of stability is probably one. I have spent many years developing safety cases for mobile units which essentially should be documents which deal with the possibility of major accidents, and their frequency and consequences. To ensure that their possibility is reduced to "as low as reasonably practicable" considerable commitment is required by the management of these objects, which in turn requires proper documentation, procedures, training and systems. In turn this may require money to be spent. And so, the tighter the budget, the less likely any of these things will be at the forefront of the management considerations.
But I'm just going on - as I have for years. What follow in this section are articles I have written over the years to inform those interested in keeping people safe, what the problems are, what the regulatory requirements are, and how others have dealt with the process. It is also worth reading the section on accidents, and my book "A Catalogue of Disasters".