Treatment of workers from Transocean oil rig

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More information is coming to light about the treatment of survivors of the explosion on the Transocean oil rig.  According to an article (and podcast) on National Public Radio on 6 May 2010, company lawyers for Transocean had survivors sign waivers within hours of the disaster.

The article says:

“The form that they made them sign had, ‘I was here when it happened, I didn’t see anything.’ Or ‘I saw this and I was or was not hurt,’ ” says Steven Gordon, a Houston attorney who represents some of the survivors…. Continue reading “Treatment of workers from Transocean oil rig”

BP oil rig explosion – lawyer video

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The explosion of the BP oil rig raises a huge number of issues in a variety of safety and environmental disciplines.  In much of the media reportage, the plight of the workers on the rig has been given much less attention.

One media report has described BP as

“a London-based multinational oil giant with the worst safety record of any major oil company operating refineries in the United States.”

The oil rig, Deepwater horizon, was leased by BP  through Transocean.

On 3 May 2010 a maritime injury lawyer with Gordon, Ellias, and Seely, Jeff Seely, reportedly acting on behalf of the a family of one of the (presumed) dead workers from rig, Karl Kleppinger, released a Youtube video, produced by the World Socialist Web Site, in support of his legal action against BP and others claiming negligence.

Continue reading “BP oil rig explosion – lawyer video”

CertIV OHS training in Beijing

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Several years ago I met an OHS professional from Singapore, Daniel LO.  Daniel relocated to Australia and has continued his OHS career.  Last month Daniel conducted a Certificate IV OHS course for the Sinopec Corporation.  As China becomes even more important to the world economy, pressure is increasing to show an acceptable commitment ot workplace safety.  We, in the West, have seen this most in China’s coal mining industry and some of its manufacturers, particularly for some global brands.

In talking with Daniel last week, he offered a short article on the training course he instigated and conducted.  Daniel is an asset to Australia and will be one OHS professional to watch.  Here is his contribution:

An OHS Professional Report on Safety Developments in China

Since China’s entry into the World Trade Organisation in December 2001, there has been much pressure from the international community for China to raise its Occupational Health and Safety standards.   The introduction of the Safe Production Law in 2002 and more recently the adoption of the Law on the Prevention and Control of Occupational Diseases in 2008 is the response of a determined government, to ensure that its regulatory framework catches up with the nation’s unprecedented economic growth.

Heeding this call to protect workers’ safety and health by investing in OHS training is state owned enterprise – China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation – one of the largest state-owned major petroleum companies in China, The company has made it to the top ten ranking by Fortune Global 500, is also known as Sinopec Corp, and is listed in the Shanghai, New York and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges.

In July 2009, as an OHS professional with bilingual ability, Daniel Lo personally negotiated, prepared and delivered the first ever CertIV in OHS in Sinopec (Beijing).  This flagship competency-based training and assessment  is also part of Sinopec’s policy of “Safety First, Prevention Foremost, All Involvement and Comprehensive Control," to achieve a better Health Safety and Environment (HSE) performance.  Participants for this training are project managers, safety managers and supervisors from various oil fields in Saudi, Sudan, Ecuador, Yemen, Iran, Nigeria, and China.  The key success of this program has been the training and sharing of occupational safety and health management system in context of China’s language, culture and history.

Daniel LO is presently engaged as a senior OHS consultant by IFAP.  He has an MBA, BSc in Mechanical Engineering, Specialist Diploma in OHS, CertIV in OHS, Diploma in Information Technology, Advanced Certificate in Training and Assessment.  He is also a Certified lead auditor for OHSAS18001.

Offshore industry regulator performance

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Australia’s National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) has released a report of its own OHS performance based on data from 2005 to 2007.  NOPSA has been in the public eye far more than normal due to the Varanus Island explosion and the various investigatory reports.

The report seems to indicate that, as a regulator, NOPSA is performing to expectations.  NOPSA’s CEO John Clegg has acknowledged that the  industry is below the level of its overseas counterparts.  This is peculiar given that other Australian resources industries, like mining, are ahead of other countries and that safety in the offshore industry has had a high profile ever since Piper Alpha.

The report identifies challenges that are difficult but not very surprising:

  • improving leadership – strong leadership is required for the Australian industry to move to the next level
  • dealing with a shortage of skilled personnel
  • managing ageing facilities and minimising gas releases

It will be very interesting to watch the benchmarking of NOPSA and its future role through the OHS harmonisation process that Australia is undergoing.

Below is the full report and the performance summary.

Kevin Jones

NOPSA 2007-08 cover

   NOPSA summary 2007-08