Better Management Of Offshore Workforce Competence Needed - Nopsa

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3rd December 2008, 01:54pm - Views: 711

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Media Release

Issue date: 03-12-2008

Page 1 of 1


3rd December 2008

For immediate release

Better management of offshore workforce competence needed -


Australia’s national offshore petroleum safety authority (NOPSA) has called on offshore facility

operators to put more emphasis on managing the competency of their workforce.

The safety authority has recommended that all operators have a formal competency management

system in place to ensure that all the skills required for safe operation of a facility are available

when and where they are needed. Such a management system allows operators to identify and fill

any competency gaps, and to plan for training and development of the workforce. 

Acting CEO of NOPSA, Simon Schubach said some facility operators offered excellent formal

competency management systems with tracking tools to identify the competency required and

ensure that it is available within the rostered workforce at all times.

“Where a facility has shown to be performing poorly in competence, we have found that once a

formal competency management has been put in place then standards improve quickly.”

“We are aware that high rates of employee turnover are an issue in some parts of the industry,

however this makes it even more vital that effective and well-resourced competence management

systems are in place.”

Mr Schubach said that there was also a need to audit the workforce competence in safety critical

tasks to ensure that the person identified as having the competence to do a task can actually

perform it adequately.  This is especially true of tasks done infrequently, such as emergency

response procedures. 

He said that NOPSA inspectors have found facilities where personnel identified as being

responsible for performing certain tasks were neither familiar with the location of critical equipment

nor the tasks they had to perform. 

Mr Schubach said that once a competence management system is in place, operators need to

make sure that it is not just a ‘paper exercise’ but that it requires the evaluation of the performance

of individuals when actually carrying out the tasks.  

Under the occupational health and safety laws which apply to offshore petroleum facilities, the

operator has a duty of care to provide safe systems of work which includes provision of information,

instruction and training.

“A formal competence management system makes it easier for operators to manage their legislated



Enquiries:  NOPSA external affairs officer, Louise Dumas: Tel 08 6461 7058

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