Health & Safety

I recently attended the launch of Oil and Gas UK’s latest guidance on “Best Practice for Safe Packing & Handling of Cargo to & from Offshore Locations”. The document is a practical guide designed to encourage the achievement of standards above and beyond common industry standards. It is primarily aimed at vendors, haulage contractors, logistic service providers, vessel operators, aircraft operators and offshore operators.

In accordance with the three-year review strategy, the latest guide has been compiled following extensive research and input from industry participants and seeks to update Issue No.5 ( released in November 2011) to take into account changes in legislation, good working practices and learning from incidents.

The requirement for a widespread industry ‘best practice’ document was identified following an investigation into an incident 14 years ago which had resulted in a crew man being crushed when a choke valve fell out of a container. The guidance sets out best practice in relation to mitigating the risk of dropped objects (which continues to be a major health and safety issue within offshore industries), lifting and slinging, carriage of goods by sea and waste management.

Although the guidance doesn’t have legal force, it should be taken into account by companies when drafting health and safety policies and procedures. Companies should also ensure that personnel involved in packing and handling of cargo are familiar with aspects of the guidance relevant to their work. Compliance with best practice minimises the risk of incidents occurring, and in the event that an incident does occur, it ought to be viewed favourably by investigating or prosecuting authorities.

Ryan Openshaw