e-obs online observation tool

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Over the last few years, Step Change in Safety has been working hard to simplify and standardize key elements of the industry’s control of work processes with a focus on toolbox talks, dynamic risk assessment and safety observations. In 2016, this led to the introduction of the Safe Working Essentials toolkit.

The development of e-obs is the next step in the evolution of the Safe Working Essentials toolkit. It was designed for the workforce and takes advantage of the digital world in which we now live. Accessible via phones, tablets and computers, e-obs has a sleek and simple-to-use interface which enables users to record safety concerns and highlight examples of good safety practice.

It also addresses one of the workforce’s strongest criticisms of existing observation systems - the lack of feedback. Workers will now be able to receive feedback on their observation cards. Also, for the first time, every installation operator, contracting company and individual will be able to see their respective card data.  Furthermore, it allows Step Change in Safety to conduct industry wide trending and analysis, enabling tailored responses to industry challenges.

Step Change in Safety is now looking to further engage with member companies who are considering adopting the E-obs tool. To allow potential users to trial the system, the safety organisation has created a safe and secure replica of the online tool which lets members navigate around the system, input test cards etc. without affecting real data collection.


Welcome to e-obs

What is the online safety observation tool (e-obs)?

It is a web-based application that allows the workforce to record and receive feedback on their safety observations using a PC, tablet or phone.

Why has Step Change in Safety developed an online safety observation tool (e-obs)?

The development of an online safety observation card is the next step in the evolution of the Safe Working Essentials (SWE) toolkit. It was developed to address two key issues: 1. Ensuring that the workforce got timely and easily accessible feedback on their submitted safety observations; and 2. To improve the sharing and analysis of safety observation data between operators, contractors and across the UK oil and gas industry.

We already have a safety observation system, what benefit does e-obs bring?

The benefits are:

  • Provides a standard approach to recording safety observations
  • Reduces administration by cutting out manual transfer of paper card information to spreadsheets and databases
  • Safety observations can be recorded directly on PC, tablets and mobile phones
  • Workforce can see their submitted cards along with feedback provided and action taken.
  • Contractors can see safety observations made by their employees across multiple locations and different operators
  • Operators can see safety observations made by their contractors on the operator’s assets
  • Reporting function supports rapid data analysis for management reporting and improvement planning
  • Enables industry-wide analysis of data that Step Change in Safety can use to target its improvement programmes

What is being done to promote the adoption of e-obs?

E-obs was launched on 6th November 2019. In 2020 Step Change in Safety will be focussed on promoting the use of the tool amongst its member companies through open drop-in sessions and company-specific sessions. Several companies are already showing interest in the early adoption of the e-obs tool. We expect adoption to be a gradual process. Companies need time to understand e-obs and the practicalities of how it can be integrated into their businesses.

What benefit will I get from e-obs?

You’ll be able to:

  • Track the safety observation cards you have submitted
  • See feedback provided for your safety observations cards
  • See actions that have been assigned

Where can I find out more about the online safety observation tool?

We expect to run more drop-in sessions for our member companies during 2020. Keep a look out on the Step Change in Safety website for dates. Member companies can also request an in-company demonstration of the tool.

Enquiries about the e-obs tool should be sent to e-obs@stepchangeinsafety.net


What support materials are there for the e-obs tool?

A short 2-minute introductory video is available via the Step Change in Safety YouTube channel:


Other support material is being developed and will be available in 2020:

  • E-obs user familiarisation slide packs for workforce, reviewer, actionees and company administrators
  • Readiness review tool

Which Life-Saving Rules does e-obs use?

When a person is inputting a safety observation the system allows them to identify any Life-Saving Rules that might apply to the observation. The tool uses the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) Life Saving Rules. More information on the IOGP Life-Saving Rules can be found on the IOGP website www.iogp.org/life-savingrules.

Who designed and built e-obs?

The e-obs tool was designed by the Safe Working Essentials workgroup of Step Change in Safety.  RelyOn Nutec were engaged to build the tool on behalf of Step Change in Safety. The e-obs website is hosted by RelyOn Nutec.

What devices can e-obs be used on?

E-obs can be used on PC, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. It is compatible with a range of internet browsers e.g. Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer.

Is e-obs available as an app?

Currently it is not available as an app.

How much does it cost?

E-obs is free of charge to Step Change in Safety member Companies. Maintenance and updates are covered by your company’s annual Step Change in Safety membership fee.

How do I find out if my company is going to use the e-obs tool?

We suggest you contact your HSE department or your company Step Change in Safety focal point.

Is the use of e-obs going to be mandated across the oil and gas industry in the UK?

Step Change in Safety cannot mandate the use of e-obs. The main benefits of e-obs, i.e. workforce feedback on observations and wider sharing of safety data, will only be realised if it is embraced and adopted across our industry. Step Change in Safety will be working hard at all levels to promote the use of e-obs tool.

What security is there on the e-obs tool?

Users must log-in using their e-mail address and a personal password. The application and data is fully encrypted.

Who has access to the safety observation data?

The workforce can only see the information associated with their own safety observations.

All companies (operators and contractors) will have access to safety observation data submitted by their own employees. Operators, for locations under their control (e.g. offshore installation, shore base), will also see all safety observation data submitted by their contractors at those locations.

Step Change in Safety will have access to a limited unattributed data set to enable industry-wide analysis and trending.

What do you mean when you say Step Change in Safety will have access to limited unattributable data?

Step Change in Safety will see the type of observation being made and the lifesaving rules and hazards identified. Step Change in Safety will not be able to access people, locations, company name or descriptive information i.e. description of what was observed and what was done about it.

Where is the safety observation data stored?

It is stored in RelyOn Nutec’s secure server stored in a tier 1 datacentre.

Who sees my submitted safety observation?

The only people that can see your safety observations are you, your company reviewer (provides feedback to you on your observation) and your company system administrator (analyses everybody’s observations to help identify areas for improvement)

Can I submit a safety observation anonymously?

Yes, you can but you will not receive any feedback.

Is e-obs GDPR compliant?

Companies that adopt e-obs will be responsible for managing their e-obs user data for the purposes of GDPR.

What happens if RelyOn Nutec go out of business?

Step Change in Safety owns the data and will be provided with a complete data set

Is e-obs simple to use?

Yes – it has been designed to make it as easy as possible for the workforce to use. After logging in to the system you are just one click way from the safety observation form.

Can I just go ahead and use the system?

Before you can use the system you will need to be set-up as a user by your e-obs company administrator.

Where can I find the system?

Type in the following web address into your browser. You can then save it as a favourite.



What information do I need to log into the system?

You’ll need an e-mail address and password. Your password will be allocated to you when your e-obs company administrator sets up your user profile. Once you have logged on for the first time you can change your password.

I don’t have a company e-mail address what should I do?

It may be possible for your company administrator to set you up on the system using your personal e-mail address.  If you use a generic ‘team’ e-mail (e.g. mechtechs@operator.co.uk) it will be possible to set you up as a user using this e-mail address. It will mean that the whole team gets to see each other’s safety observations.

Can I submit a safety observation if I don’t have access to the system?

Yes you can – the system does allow another person to submit a card on your behalf.  If you want to know about the feedback on your safety observation you will need to speak with the person that submitted the card on your behalf.

Can I keep track of the cards I submit on e-obs?

Yes – all the cards you have submitted are visible to you including any feedback you have received

Is the e-obs tool available to use now?

The system went ‘live’ on 6th November 2019 but you will only have access to the system if your company has decided to adopt it. Step Change in Safety are currently promoting the e-obs tool across its member companies. We are expecting the first companies to start using the system during 2020.

Can I be identified if I submit an anonymous safety observation?

Ideally, we would like you to submit safety observations under your name. By doing this you will receive feedback. We understand that there may be circumstances where you may not feel comfortable doing this and would prefer to submit an anonymous observation.

Only RelyOn Nutec can trace the origin of an anonymous safety observation. This information is not visible to companies using the e-ob tools or Step Change in Safety. We would only expect a trace to be carried out if e-obs has been used in a malicious way e.g. abusive language or for carrying out personal attacks on individuals. Any request to trace an anonymous safety observation would have to be made through Step Change in Safety.

How does the system handle abusive or malicious observation cards?

All companies using the system will need to appoint card reviewers. Apart from providing feedback on safety observations reviewers do have the option to ‘decline’ an abusive or malicious observation card.

Will I be able to submit safety observations if I work across different locations?

If your company has adopted the e-obs tool you will be able to submit cards across multiple locations. If your company has not adopted e-obs then you will have to continue using your current company safety observation system or the system that is being used at the different locations.

What happens when I submit a safety observation on e-obs?

Your card will be reviewed by a designated ‘e-obs reviewer’. They will provide you with feedback and ensure that corrective actions are assigned to the right people.

What does the reviewer do with my safety observation?

It is the reviewer’s job to provide you with some feedback on your card which will include information on what corrective actions has been taken or planned. They can also decline your safety observation if there is a problem with it e.g. insufficient information or not understandable.

Can I use e-obs to report good practices?

Yes – we would positively encourage you to report good practices using e-obs. It is important that good practices are recognised and shared.

Who do I contact if I have problems with the e-obs tool?

The first person to contact is your e-obs company administrator. If it is a technical problem with the system your e-obs company administrator will contact Step Change in Safety who will liaise with the system designers to resolve the problem.

E-obs asks me to tick Life-Saving Rules as part of my safety observation. Is this going to get me or other people in trouble?

No. E-obs is not asking you to make a judgement about whether a Life-Saving Rule has been broken. It is simply asking you which Life Saving Rules do you think apply to the situation you have observed.

Can e-obs be used for reporting environmental observations?

Although primarily aimed as safety the e-obs system can be used to report environmental observations. It includes an ‘environmental’ hazard icon. You’ll need to check with your company to see whether they want the system to be used for environmental observations.

Will the e-obs tool work offshore?

Yes – if there is an internet connection

Will e-obs be affected by internet speed?

Yes – the e-obs tool will be affected by low Internet speeds. There are technical fixes for this problem but this would incur additional cost.

Does e-obs have single sign on capability?

No – but this can be provided at additional cost.

Can we customise the e-obs tool to our business?

No. The purpose of the e-obs tool is to simplify and standardise safety observations in our industry.

Our company doesn’t use the IOGP Life-Saving Rules – can we change them in e-obs?

No. This has been accounted for by including an ‘optional’ free text box that allows a person to type in the name of the company Life Saving Rule that they think is relevant e.g. excavation. There is a similar free text box for selecting hazards.

We have a large number of employees. Is there a simple way of registering them as users on the system?

Yes – the e-obs system allows bulk uploading of user data. You’ll need to liaise with your IT department to ensure that the data is available in the correct format for bulk uploading.

Can we have more than one reviewer and company administrator?

Yes – the system is flexible. How you set up these roles in e-obs will depend on whether you are an operator or contractor and the number of locations you control or work at.

Can data be exported from e-obs?

Yes – it can be exported as a CSV file for analysis using other software or spreadsheets.

Can data be exported directly into other data analysis tools e.g. Power BI without having to download a CSV file?

Yes the system exports the data, however how someone imports it into another system is out of the control of the system.

Can data from our existing company safety observation system be uploaded into e-obs?

Yes it is possible to import card data however there is currently no method to do so in the application and as such Step Change in Safety would need to send the data to RelyOn Nutec for uploading.

Can e-obs be run alongside a paper-based safety observation system?

Yes – there may be situations where it simply isn’t possible for people to submit safety observations online. Paper cards will have to be channelled to one or more ‘administrators’ that can then input the cards onto e-obs system.

Can the system be used to track actions?

E-obs has not been designed as an action tracking tool. It does enable the reviewer to assign corrective actions but this is primarily to provide information back to the person submitting the observation. The expectation is that any actions will be managed through the company’s existing action tracking system

Will e-obs be updated in the future?

Yes – during 2020 Step Change in Safety will collect feedback from companies that have adopted e-obs. This feedback will be used to identify opportunities to enhance e-obs.

My company is interested in e-obs – can we get access to the system?

Step Change in Safety have set up a duplicate (sandbox) e-obs website so you can try it out. You can request access to the sandbox site by contacting Step Change in Safety at e-obs@stepchangeinsafety.net

The web address for the sandbox site is: www.sandbox.safeworkingessentials.com

My company is interested in adopting e-obs – how can we learn more about the system?

Step Change in Safety would be more than happy to visit member companies to discuss e-obs in more depth and to demonstrate the system. Please request a visit at e-obs@stepchangeinsafety.net

How will we know whether my company is ready to adopt e-obs?

Step Change in Safety will publish a simple ‘readiness review’ tool in 2020. It will consist of a set of questions around key topics (e.g. safety culture, leadership, IT considerations, rollout plans, communications) that companies should ask themselves before adopting e-obs. They are intended to be a prompt for discussion.

Our company has decided to adopt e-obs – what do we do next?

Step Change in Safety want your adoption of e-obs to be a success. Before providing your company with access to e-obs we would like the opportunity to discuss the findings of your readiness review.

Can my company use e-obs globally?

E-obs was designed for use by the UK oil and gas industry. Currently it is only available in English.  E-obs does have the potential to be used globally but is likely to need significant changes to the system design.



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