All offshore installations have one thing in common: they operate in a harsh environment, sometimes far away from onshore infrastructure. Yet, despite and maybe because of the outstanding technical achievements of the last decades, offshore installations are under constant observation regarding workplace safety.

Further reading: Oil Rig Hazards and Safety Management

According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (US), six workers died in offshore-related accidents in 2020 along the US coast, and 160 were injured. But sources claim that these figures don’t show the entire truth: many incidents would not be reported or categorised as non-work related.

Therefore, safety must always be the top priority on offshore installations. Lives and wealth are at risk and must be guarded. One crucial approach to improving your emergency response is preparedness – be ready should disaster strike.

A vital aspect of emergency response is response time. In an offshore emergency, personnel onboard is instructed to muster at pre-defined locations and be ready to board their lifeboats. As the most recent rig disasters showed, mustering is a complex, often chaotic process. In a stressful situation, humans tend to panic and worsen the situation. As many offshore installations still rely on a paper and phone-based muster system to account for all personnel aboard the offshore installation at any time, the evacuation process will be slow, prone to human errors and will lead to confusion.

The total count method is time-consuming, and the T-card system is uncomplicated in theory but unreliable: If the crew can’t reach their assigned muster point, it won’t work. But reliability is what matters in an evacuation process. So the goal is a reliable system that provides complete, timely and accurate muster.

Ease-of-use is another criterion for an automatic muster system, allowing new crew members to utilise it within minutes of being on board if necessary. In addition, such a system should quickly communicate the needed information coherently to the command team on the vessel’s bridge or to the rescue operation team onshore and the muster takers at the individual muster locations.

Emergency response is integral to workplace safety for offshore drilling and other industries. The standards and awareness of occupational safety and emergency response may differ from industry to industry. But industries with the best safety procedures and emergency response plans had their wake-up call in their history regarding safety and human errors. Tragedies helped create awareness and the need to formulate and create strong regulations, methodology and safety culture.

EER stands for evacuation, escape, and rescue and is the procedure in which people are taken to a safe ground during an accident such as a fire or explosion. The importance of EER is more critical in offshore drilling sites due to the surrounding water that poses additional safety risks.

Continue your reading and download our in-depth whitepaper discussing offshore emergency responses, safety assessment and risk analysis and visit our webpage to learn more about Crew Companion, our HSE offshore solution.