The labor force has long been considered the most significant asset found in the workplace. While buildings and equipment can be replaced, human life cannot. As a result, specific provisions have been made to ensure the highest level of safety. When it comes to the offshore industry, a company’s Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS) specifically dictates the onboarding of contractors.
In a game of connecting the dots, one must go from Point A to Point B for contractors. Companies must meet specific guidelines, one of them being SEMS compliance, to perform work offshore. Companies providing services can use contractors to complete the job, but clear guidelines must be met. SEMS specifies that careful selection and verification procedures must ensure a safe introduction of contractors into the workplace provided by the hiring company.
When choosing a contractor to perform work under the auspices of your company, a specific procedure or set of procedures should be adopted by the company selecting a contractor. These procedures should be used to ensure the contractor performs work in a methodology that finds compliance with the hiring company’s SEMS program.
Companies often have HSE professionals that vet the safety manuals and procedures of the contractor. If it is deemed that the contractor possesses a manual that provides confidence and SEMS compliance, they typically receive the contract to perform the work.
The hiring company is responsible for ensuring that contractors have the skills and knowledge needed to perform their assigned work duties as per the guidelines of the SEMS standard. A typical outlet used to gauge skill level is to study the contractors’ level of training before entering the workplace.
The offshore world directs excellent focus to the process of verification. Demanding proof instead of taking important aspects at face value, the SEMS standard specifies that contractor personnel both understand and hold the ability to perform assigned duties.
When considering equipment, contractors must be proficient in installing, maintaining, and repairing equipment as needed. Facilities sequester the same attention. Contractors need to understand the construction of their facilities and should be familiar with the startup and operation. This same thought process is applied to turnarounds, significant renovations, and areas of specialty work.
The verification process does not just apply to the hiring process and initial deployment of contractors to the workplace. Hiring companies must perform random evaluations to gauge the performance of contract employees. The purpose of such a task is to ensure contractors satisfy obligations.
Completing the Process
Companies must inform their employees of known hazards in the workplace, and this same provision is also applicable to contractors. Potential risks such as fire, explosion, lifting hazards, slips, trips, and falls must be publicized to contractors before the start of work.
The development of safe work practices should be developed and used to protect contractors along with regular employees. Once created, they can control the entrance, presence, and exit of work areas but must be fully implemented.
The SEMS standard was created with various areas of interest in mind. One of those was to provide for the perception and care of contractors. Hiring companies must take responsibility for their contractors as actual direct-hire employees. As a result, hiring companies manage a contractor’s injury and illness log regarding their daily work. It comes with a mandated two-year duration.
The SEMS standard methodically dictates the preparation and implementation of contractor management guidelines to ensure safety. The policy must be fully implemented to gain the best odds in arranging for success. Exercising initiative-taking behavior, correctly vetting the contractor, and ensuring compliance are essential tools in completing the job and returning safely to our families at the end of the day.
Nick Vaccaro is a freelance writer and photographer. In addition to providing technical writing services, he is an HSE consultant in the oil and gas industry with eight years of experience. Vaccaro also contributes to SHALE Oil and Gas Business Magazine, Louisiana Sportsman Magazine, and follows and photographs American Kennel Club field and herding trials. He has a BA in photojournalism from Loyola University and resides in the New Orleans area. Vaccaro can be reached at 985-966-0957 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oil and gas operations are commonly found in remote locations far from company headquarters. Now, it's possible to monitor pump operations, collate and analyze seismic data, and track employees around the world from almost anywhere. Whether employees are in the office or in the field, the internet and related applications enable a greater multidirectional flow of information – and control – than ever before.