Offshore West Africa to focus on occupational health, safety

OWA06 October 2016, Lagos – Offshore West Africa (OWA) has stated that the issue of health, safety, security and environment (HSSE) will be a focal point for discussion considering the risks associated with oil exploration business, especially during low crude price regime. The initiative is part of the corporation’s engagements in the nation’s oil and gas industry.

The Director of Operations, Africa, PennWell Corporation, Mr. Dele Olaoye, explained that the need to ensure safer workplace across the broad spectrum of the oil and gas industry informed the need to create a session dedicated to HSSE at the conference.

“During OWA 2017, a section of the exhibition floor has been earmarked for paper presentations that will focus on topical and relevant occupational health and safety issues in the oil and gas industry. These presentations will be open to all delegates, exhibitors’ personnel and visitors to the exhibition to attend. The idea is to create an avenue to engage key players including governments, operator companies, investors and other participants,” he disclosed.

“Occupational HSSE should continue to be top priority today despite the global low crude oil regime. According to DuPont studies, during low oil price regime, there is typically an attendant increase in incidence rates which would manifest about three years after the trend commences. This is because organizations in their bid to cut-costs impact on Health & Safety measures. Any cost savings that affects Occupational Health & Safety could imply that such an organization is delaying the evil day. The eventual loss usually far outweighs the perceived immediate savings.”

While reiterating that the conference is the most global in West Africa, he added participants at the conference are expected over 40 countries across all continents.

According to him, about six countries have confirmed their intentions to have pavilions on the exhibition floor at the event which comes up in June 2017. The countries include the United States and Scotland, which was confirmed by the United States Department of Commerce and the Scottish Development International respectively. Other countries are Angola, Ghana, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

Speaking further, Olaoye stressed that “the issue of health and safety cannot be over emphasized. When people cut cost, in every organization, the first thing they intend to do is to get rid of marketing budget, the second thing they think of is get rid of training. Eventually, many go as far as to get rid of personnel who could include key staffs with years of experience and competence. Usually, there is no deliberate focus to ensure that these measures do not affect the overall measures in place to safe-guard people and their health, the environment as well as assets.

“One other key issue worth mention is contractor management during low oil price regime. Negotiating or renegotiating contracts need to be carefully guarded to ensure people’s lives, their health, the environment as well as company assets are not negatively impacted during project execution,“ he concluded.

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