Oil and gas industry has always been pioneer in implementation of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) culture among its workers due to a very high-risk atmosphere comparing other industries like food, medicine, manufacturing, etc. Drilling is known as one of the most dangerous environments because of its congested area and heavy-duty equipment such as top drive, Blowout Preventer (BOP), winches, etc., as well as high risk of toxic and flammable gases resulted from blow out or leakage. In consequence, HSE training courses, particularly safety courses, have absorbed special attention among national and international authorities. In this article we are going to introduce some of them with a comparative approach between Iran and other countries.
To commence with, we shall divide onshore and offshore drilling regarding their diverse requirement. All over the world, depending on national and local laws, mandatory safety training courses for workers are focused on general safety training ranging from manual handling, hazardous chemicals, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) proper using, slips and trips to other collection of skills related to the nature of worker’s duties. The course is available for new starters with longer duration and all existing experienced personnel as refreshment to ensure safety awareness and culture has maintained by all workers.
According to Iran Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare, Safety Training Regulation, all company staff, including employer, employees and trainees, shall obtain safety trainings related to their duties and hold relative certificates with recordable history in their job documents. This regulation is applicable for both onshore and offshore drilling and production operations. In some private companies, safety trainings are limited to general safety materials to meet minimum legal training requirement. It is mainly resulted from lack of budget.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of United Kingdom, as a leader in Health and Safety, has expressed that safety training course could be held by the business itself or with the help of in-house advisors. However HSE has pointed out in some cases there will be need to external help, in particular, on more detailed or technical issues. British Petroleum (BP), for instance, after serious accidents in its refining, pipeline and offshore operations has taken a comprehensive approach for training its workers, combining rigorous standards, world-class instruction and sophisticated tools to prevent accidents and injuries. BP established its global wells institute (GWI) in 2011 with more than 30 technical courses not apart of health and safety concerns. The courses are not available for Iranian professionals by now.
Safety issues are of high significance in offshore drilling facilities. In line with local regulations, International Marine Organization (IMO) has established a various number of regulations and conventions for the companies working in international territorial waters, no matter which country their flag belongs. Since 1958, Iran is a member State in IMO. Conventions and Protocols of IMO acceded by Iran covers training courses as STCW has defined.
The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW), requires that seafarers be provided with “familiarization training” and “basic safety training” which includes a Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (Basic Fire fighting) course of 2 days, a Personal Survival Techniques (PST) course of 1.5 days, a Personal Safety and Social Responsibility (PSSR) course of half a day, and, First Aid / CPR (Basic First Aid) course of 1 day. According to STCW, the STCW 95 Code requires that individuals take this 5-day course of instruction. This course has to be renewed every 5 years, or under certain conditions, applicants have to show that they have at least 1 year of service onboard vessels of 200 GRT or more within the last 5 years.
The International Maritime Organization does not approve any training courses or institutes. This is a privilege and responsibility of Member Governments who are Parties to the STCW Convention. Approval is normally given by the Maritime Administration of an STCW Party in accordance with the Convention requirements. Hence forth, any Iranian educational institute approved by Port and Maritime Organization of Iran could deliver the required certification to its certification seekers.
International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) requires workers on offshore installations to attend and successfully pass a package including Basic Introduction to Offshore Safety (BIOS) which follows STCW training materials, in addition, has been enriched with Helicopter Underwater Escape Training including Air pocket re-breather (HUET) and Further Introduction to Offshore Safety (FIOS) which has no consideration in IMO. Objective of IADC safety training course is to gain a basic level of understanding and awareness of safety and emergency response on Mobile Offshore Units (MOU’s). Total course duration is 4 days. The course has four years validity. Personnel should undertake a refresher course before expiry of their current certificate. VIP’s travelling to MOU’s and spending less than 24 hours continuously on the MOU, whilst under the direct supervision of competent offshore personnel. Such VIP’s must participate in an onshore briefing at the heliport prior to departure and an offshore induction program on arrival at the MOU. Currently, IADC training course is not being held in Iran.
Iranian approved educational institutes by Port and Maritime Organization of Iran has been offering a nine-day safety training course with the requirements of both STCW and IADC with additional advanced fire fighting concerns. Simultaneously, Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training (BOSIET) which has been designed for marine personnel intending to work on an offshore installation is being held in these institutes for limited voyages workers. BOSIET has the duration of three days and is known as Basic Safety Training (BST) in United Kingdom, Common Safety Training Program (CSTP) in Australia and other names around the world.
To make a long story short, there is no doubt that Iranian drilling industry meets international requirements regarding health and safety training for workers.