Crispin Jessop of Allocate Software takes a look at how an integrated, automated skills matrix can keep offshore projects compliant in terms of health and safety

Health and safety has always come first for offshore operations and the lessons learned from disasters such as Piper Alpha and Deepwater Horizon have led to stringent requirements.  Quite rightly, regulations become more and more exacting with each incident, as governments tighten auditing and compliance regimes.  Non compliance can result in large penalties, reputational damage and lost contracts.

However, the benefits of health and safety compliance go beyond profit.  Ensuring personnel have the correct skills, training and certification for complex and challenging offshore operations is a difficult and onerous task.. Nonetheless it is vital that executive and senior management apply rigorous and effective processes and procedures to ensure complete compliance.  Failure to recognize this can be catastrophic for an organization’s reputation and the safety of individuals and cost millions of dollars in reputations.

All reputable companies are serious about the health, safety and training of their personnel, but do they have sufficient procedures to identify potential problems in a timely manner and monitor compliance efficiently and effectively?  Do they have the right tools to compile and maintain a centralized and up-to-date skills matrix that can be utilized across the entire organization?  How do they manage and monitor safety and compliance processes across multiple regions with differing governance and regulations?

One answer is to maintain an integrated and automated skills matrix to:

  • Demonstrate compliance with health and safety inspections – auditing is time consuming and costly.  Having a centralized skills matrix with the associated documentation can help simplify and speed up the process and minimize the costs
  • Ensure staff maintain a sufficient level of expertise – no industry stands still.  The skills required today will not be the same as those required tomorrow.  As the technologies and regulations change, companies must keep up
  • Maintain a list of relevant skills and qualifications – deriving a training plan for your personnel is much easier if you have a consistent and accurate list of skills and qualifications to draw from.  A well-managed skills matrix will change over time to reflect the changing regulation and business environments
  • Identify personnel that require training in a timely manner – coordination between the planning and training departments becomes much easier when they are singing from the same hymn sheet or, in this case the planned crew schedule
  • Provide a well-defined career path for employees – by showing an interest and planning for the future, an organization stands a better chance of retaining its skilled workforce.  A well maintained skills matrix provides evidence to employees of the commitment to their careers by illustrating how they can move along their chosen career path
  • Schedule the right staff to the right projects at the right time – by linking skills requirements to project roles and positions, you can quickly identify who has the requisite skills. Certificates and visas to fill the position and who needs additional training or updated documentation.  This information is critical for the timely execution of a project
  • Provide existing and prospective clients with accurate project résumés – most companies need to prove their credentials when bidding for projects.  Any company that can quickly prove  it has the necessary assets will enhance their reputation for getting the job done, safely and in a cost effective and timely manner
  • Identify future shortfalls – working in an offshore environment can be harsh and the industry has struggled in recent years to recruit an adequate number of new entrants of sufficient quality.  This is manifesting itself in an aging workforce.  Companies that plan now will be better able to meet these challenges going forward.

Only with a skills matrix in place can an organization hope to understand its training and skills shortfalls.  Most organizations will have some form of electronic spreadsheet detailing course requirements and a list of competences and qualifications (usually against a role or position) but is this enough?

It’s fair to say only by having a skills matrix as part of an integrated, automated workforce optimization solution can organizations hope to remain safe and fully compliant.  It’s time to ditch spreadsheets and silos of information and adopt a proven solution that can help develop, build and maintain an effective and safe workforce.  This is how companies can ensure they have the right skilled resources, in the right locations at the right time to maximize safety and profit.

Crispin Jessop is an offshore workforce management specialist at Allocate Software


About Allocate Software

Allocate Software was founded in 1991 and is today a leading provider of healthcare, maritime and defence workforce deployment software.  Headquartered in London, and with offices throughout the UK, the company operates worldwide offices in Canberra (Australia), Sydney (Australia), Stockholm (Sweden) and Skopje (Macedonia) and employs more than 350 people.

Allocate Software serves over 500 customers globally.  Its comprehensive range of OffshoreSuite, HealthSuite and DefenceSuite solutions are designed to underpin complex workforce management in safety critical and high skill level environments, delivering both safe staffing and productivity savings.

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