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Alex Wilson joined Step Change in Safety in 2015 to share what he knows about offshore operations.

The Operations Manager for Petrofac’s Greater Kittiwake Area was recently involved in a series of peer reviews with other companies, assessing each other’s ways to prevent hydrocarbon leaks.

“I wanted to understand how we, as an industry, can learn from each other.  As part of the HCR Improvement & Implementation workgroup we decided to organise peer review sessions for Step Change members.  The aim was to assess and understand each other’s hydrocarbon safety plans, and gauge whether or not they actually work.

“These reviews were extremely useful and we all learned something new from our peers.  It was great to see that everyone had a genuine interest to improve safety offshore and work in collaboration, instead of in competition, for a change. 

“In all of the reviews, we found strengths and weaknesses in different areas, and by sharing our knowledge we could reduce these weaknesses and improve safety for everyone.

“As a result of the peer review, Petrofac has adopted a coloured tag system for small bore tubing assemblies, which I learned about from a session with Nexen. 

“Different coloured tags on a tear-off strip are used to track the status of work on pipework joints offshore, where the colour of the tag shows which stage of work the joint is at.  It’s a similar system to the one used for flange management during shutdowns and the system is now in use across all Petrofac operations. 

“If it wasn’t for my involvement with the peer review, Petrofac would never have known about the coloured tag idea. The new system means we have reduced the likelihood of future failures and any potential hydrocarbon leaks.

“I would definitely recommend a peer review to anyone else in the industry; I think the main lesson to be learned is the importance of sharing and working together as a team to share good practices.  I believe that everyone in the industry should join forces to make improvements to safety offshore.”