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Tick safety not boxes: competency and compliance in the oil and gas industry.

Marcella, Rita; Pirie, Tracy; Doig, David


David Doig


This paper details the results of an independent study, conducted by Aberdeen Business School at Robert Gordon University and commissioned by OPITO. It sought to explore the primary goals of organisations in the oil and gas industry in addressing compliance or competence issues; companies compliance and/or competence drivers in relation to license to operate, workforce skills, competence and safety; and the extent to which organisations compliance management systems integrate with their competence management systems. This is a timely study given the high priority placed on these issues in recent years by organisations such as Step Change in Safety and the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers. The study drew on in-depth qualitative telephone interviews with leaders in 43 companies with a wide geographic spread. Conclusions drawn from the research include that: 1) There is a clear realisation that merely being compliant is not appropriate if the goal is to continually improve workforce safety and skills. 2) Respondents felt that their company approach and the UK compliance and competence regimes are exemplars. 3) There is an appetite for greater consistency and global standards in competence management to be established. 4) There is a desire for greater openness and sharing across the industry in terms of competence management. 5) Certification does not equate to competence and more attention needs to be paid to the outcomes of training programmes. 6) Industry needs are changing with clients increasingly demanding proof that workforce competence is delivered. 7) Major issues emerged about companies confidence in their contractors delivery of compliance and competence. 8) Ownership of competencies must be embedded more deeply in companies. 9) There is no sense of a natural home for competence in companies, nor agreement on the ways in which competence is measured. 10) There is a lack of consensus and common understanding of what competence actually is and a need for definition. 11) The robustness of assessment and the validity of processes were questioned.


MARCELLA, R., PIRIE, T. and DOIG, D. 2011. Tick safety not boxes: competency and compliance in the oil and gas industry. Unpublished internal document. Dubai: OPITO International FZ LLC.

Report Type Research Report
Deposit Date Sep 16, 2015
Publicly Available Date Sep 16, 2015
Public URL