| Written by Vidar Borgen

A holistic HSE philosophy includes all aspects of offshore activity, including the standard of the installations, construction philosophy, operational standards, training of personnel, and maintenance. All of this with one main goal: minimising all forms of incidents and to keep people safe.

offshore personnel safety

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Enhancing Safety in Offshore Installations: Embracing State-of-the-Art Measures

In the demanding and perilous environment of offshore installations - spanning oil rigs, wind farms, and Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) units - safety is more than just a compliance issue. It's a matter of protecting human lives, securing substantial investments, and preserving the environment. Every moment, decisions are made that could mean the difference between routine operations and a catastrophic incident. However, the world has made significant strides in recent years to elevate the safety standards in this sector.

There is an unyielding commitment to achieving "Zero Incidents" in this rapidly evolving field with its unique challenges and risks. The journey towards this ambitious goal is not a straight path but a continuous cycle of assessing, learning, implementing, and improving. From state-of-the-art equipment to fostering a proactive safety culture, advancements in technology and process design are revolutionizing safety practices in the offshore industry.

This blog post aims to delve deeper into this vital topic. We will explore the ten critical questions that need to be asked regarding the continuous improvement of safety on offshore installations. Each of these questions will uncover state-of-the-art measures currently being implemented across the globe, painting a vivid picture of what safety in offshore facilities looks like in the modern age.

So, whether you're a seasoned offshore professional, a policymaker, a researcher, or simply an intrigued reader, join us as we traverse the landscape of safety measures in offshore installations - because understanding safety in this context is not just a professional necessity; it's our collective responsibility.

Top 10 offshore safety aspects to watch

Continuous safety improvement on offshore installations such as oil rigs, wind farms, and Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) units is paramount, considering the potentially hazardous conditions in these locations. To keep enhancing safety levels, it is crucial to keep asking the right questions, such as:

  1. Equipment and infrastructure: Are the existing safety and security equipment and infrastructures, including fire safety and emergency evacuation procedures, adequate and functioning at optimum levels? State-of-the-art offshore installations are equipped with the latest safety and security systems. Fire suppression systems, personal protective equipment, and other security devices are being integrated with IoT (Internet of Things) and AI technologies to provide real-time monitoring, alerting, and response mechanisms.
  2. Compliance to regulations: Do you know if the safety standards, practices, and procedures compliant with the existing local and international regulations? The best way to maintain compliance is by implementing international standards such as the ISO 45001 for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems. Third-party auditors will check regularly your documentation to ensure compliance with local and international regulations.
  3. Safety culture: How strong is your safety culture within the workforce and how can it be further improved and ingrained into the working ethos? Safety culture is crucial and it takes time to be developed and reinforced through ongoing training, communication, and recognition programs. This certainly includes a robust reporting culture, where all incidents and near misses are reported and analyzed without fear of retribution.
  4. Risk assessment: How frequently are risk assessments and hazard identification processes conducted at your offshore installation, if any? Are they in-depth, effective, and implemented across all operations? HSE managers perform periodic risk assessments using advanced software tools analysing vast amounts of data, identifying potential hazards, and predicting potential safety incidents. They also use advanced machine learning algorithms to provide predictive analytics for risk assessment.
  5. Training and education: How do you see the existing training programs - are they comprehensive, current, and relevant, especially with regard to safety protocols, hazard identification, and emergency response procedures? State-of-the art safety training not only includes digital and virtual reality-based training programs that provide real-world scenarios for practice. There is a need for real-time, experiential learning, which enhances the training effectiveness dramatically.
  6. Incident management: Regarding reporting, investigating, and following up on safety incidents - how is your incident management set up? Do you see incidents as a learning opportunity to prevent similar occurrences in the future? It's not all about technology (see above "safety culture"), but nevertheless it is important. Cutting-edge incident management systems document, examine, and analyze safety incidents. These systems love the power of big data and machine learning to extract valuable insights from past incidents and anticipate future risks.
  7. Technological advancements: How can we harness the power of technology to enhance safety measures and practices in offshore installations? Cutting-edge safety technologies, including remote inspection drones, AI-powered safety analytics, wearable devices for monitoring health and safety of the crew, and robotic process automation (RPA) for hazardous tasks, are rapidly gaining momentum in the offshore industry. These technological advancements are revolutionizing the way we approach safety, ensuring a safer working environment for offshore personnel.
  8. Maintenance schedule: There is no question that maintenance is paramount to safety and operations in general. But at what level and frequency do you conduct maintenance checks for all machinery and equipment? How can we optimize the schedules to maximize safety and productivity? The most cutting-edge maintenance strategies employ predictive maintenance techniques using machine learning and AI to anticipate and prevent equipment failure. Additionally, operators use digital twin technology to have a visual representation of equipment, enhancing the maintenance process.
  9. Mental Health and fatigue management: This is a critical question as there is a direct correlation between mental health, fatigue and safety incidents. Therefore: What measures do you have in place to monitor and manage fatigue, stress, and other mental health aspects among the offshore workforce? Wellness programs, mental health support services, and fatigue monitoring systems (using wearable devices to track sleep patterns, for example) could be part of a safety ecosystem in state-of-the-art offshore installations.
  10. Continuous Improvement: And finally, what mechanisms have you implemented to continuously review and improve safety measures? Is there a process to incorporate workforce feedback and update protocols based on lessons learned from incidents and near misses? HSE managers track safety performance indicators (SPIs) to ensure continuous improvement. Additionally, regular safety meetings are conducted to discuss improvements and feedback systems are implemented to gather valuable insights from the workforce updating safety protocols continuously.

It is crucial to monitor and consider these areas as they are relevant for offshore safety.


Offshore personnel safety

As we aim to create a safer working environment on offshore installations and foster a proactive culture of safety among all staff, we contacted our customers in the offshore industry and asked how offshore safety be further improved to avoid future accidents? Or to put it into even simpler words: Are offshore QHSE standards in the North Sea good enough?

Answers' from field experts indicate that there is still a lot of room for improvement. Three questions are very prominent in this regard:

  • Why is there not a clearer process in place for something as basic as offshore mustering? Today, an offshore worker can be at one installation one month, and another installation the next month, and experience different mustering philosophies. Why aren’t offshore companies coming together to discuss and agree on one “best practice” way of mustering?
  • Why are companies, in 2021, still using outdated methods to keep track of their personnel offshore? Many companies use pen and paper-based lists to keep a POB overview. How useful would these lists be in case of another “10-year accident”, in the middle of a stormy night, with harsh seas and crew members in panic (Learn more about RFID-based mustering)?

  • Why are there no stricter regulations in regards to having a full overview of the most valuable assets offshore, i.e. people? It is proven beyond any doubt that automated, digital solutions would reduce muster and evacuation time by as much as 50% when it matters the most.


Are you working in the offshore wind energy industry? Then you may be interested in our latest articles about HSE Offshore wind and wind farm operations.

As leading industry experts, it is our duty to ask critical questions when we feel that development is slowing up. Learn more about Crew Companion, our incident response management solution.



What is the role of risk assessments in offshore safety processes?

Risk assessments serve as a linchpin in the machinery of offshore safety procedures, as they act as an early warning system, spotlighting potential hazards and enabling the implementation of preventive action. These comprehensive evaluations rigorously examine every facet of operations, machinery, and systems, taking into account a wide array of factors such as human error, equipment malfunction, and meteorological conditions. The goal? To zero in on high-risk areas and propose risk-reduction strategies before accidents can occur. As such, regular risk assessments are the lifeblood of an up-to-the-minute, potent safety management system in the challenging offshore environment.

How can technology improve safety in offshore installations?

Harnessing advanced technology is undeniably a game-changer for boosting safety measures on offshore installations. By adopting Internet of Things (IoT) devices, it becomes possible to scrutinize equipment performance in minute detail and rapidly identify any irregularities, significantly cutting the risk of unforeseen equipment malfunctions.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning applications offer further safety enhancements, processing vast data volumes to foresee potential incidents and proactively suggest preventative action. Wearable technologies have also come to the fore, providing a real-time health dashboard for offshore workers, raising the alarm at the first signs of fatigue or stress.

Moreover, drones and robotic devices are now frequently being called upon to undertake inspections and execute tasks within hazardous zones, reducing human exposure to danger. These cutting-edge technological solutions are pioneering a new era of safety within the offshore industry.

What is the importance of safety training in offshore installations?

It is imperative that each worker on an offshore installation fully grasps the critical role they play in fostering a secure work environment. This is where the indispensable value of safety training comes into play. Safety training equips offshore personnel with essential knowledge about safety guidelines, emergency response plans, correct use of safety equipment, and potential hazard identification, thus empowering them to operate safely within their workplace.

The advent of immersive training techniques, such as virtual reality, is proving to be a tremendous leap forward, offering realistic training scenarios and thus enhancing the overall efficacy of safety training programs. Regular, in-depth safety training not only helps in reducing incidents, but it also weaves a comprehensive safety net across the offshore workplace, safeguarding every individual present.



In a rapidly evolving sector like offshore installations, staying current with the latest safety measures is no longer optional—it's a prerequisite for operational excellence. State-of-the-art safety strategies, such as leveraging advanced technologies like AI, IoT, predictive analytics, and virtual reality, are revolutionizing how we approach safety in these challenging environments. A robust safety culture, continuous risk assessments, and comprehensive training and education programs are all crucial elements in safeguarding our offshore workforce.

Moreover, recognizing the role of mental health and fatigue management in maintaining a safe working environment is essential. Rigorous and proactive maintenance schedules, paired with cutting-edge incident management systems, provide a framework for preemptive action and continuous learning. This holistic and dynamic approach is key to achieving the ambitious goal of "Zero Incidents" in offshore installations.

Enhancing safety is an ongoing journey, not a destination. It requires continuous learning, sharing of best practices, and implementation of innovative solutions. To delve deeper into one such critical safety solution, we invite you to read our latest whitepaper titled "Emergency Mustering on Offshore Installations." This resource offers valuable insights on organizing, implementing, and improving emergency mustering protocols, a pivotal aspect of safety in offshore environments. Let's work together to build safer offshore installations for everyone involved.

Emergency Mustering Whitepaper

(Continue reading about Emergency Response Management)

Updated on 10th July, 2023