Major Accident Hazard Understanding

Educating industry on preventing Major Accident Hazards

A Major Accident Hazard is a source of danger that has the potential to cause a major incident, whether that involves multiple fatalities and/or significant damage to plant, equipment or the environment. Managing Major Accident Hazards is vital to safe operations. Everybody working in the oil and gas industry, both onshore and offshore, has a part to play in managing these hazards.

To control Major Accident Hazards, barriers must be put in place. These barriers help prevent a Major Accident happening or mitigate the effects of a Major Accident if one were to occur. To help those working in the industry identify the barriers and understand the part they play in ensuring these barriers are fit-for-purpose, the Step Change in Safety Major Accident Hazard Understanding workgroup has developed a suite of educational resources for members to use.


Contact Workgroup

To contact the Major Accident Hazard Understanding workgroup, e-mail

The Step Change in Safety Major Accident Hazard Understanding workgroup works with the oil and gas industry to understand its Major Accident Hazard and Process Safety Management training needs and then develop a syllabus to address these requirements.

Everyone working in the oil and gas industry has a part to play in managing such hazards. As such, resources have been developed to benefit the entire workforce, from boardroom to tea shack, in understanding what a Major Accident Hazard is, how they are identified and how they are mitigated against.

Own Your Barrier Film and Engagement Packs

The series of films and engagement packs which were developed to improve the understanding of Major Accident Hazards, risk analyses, bowties and SECEs, barrier maintenance and barrier assurance and verification.

Visit the resources section

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Collaboration with fellow Step Change in Safety workgroups takes place to help embed the identification and management of Major Accident Hazards within the workforce.

Workforce training resources

A range of training resources have been created to help educate specific employee groups about Major Accident Hazards.

  • All workers travelling offshore must undertake MIST (Minimum Industry Safety Training), which has a Major Accident Hazard module contained within it. For onshore workers, an e-learning module has been developed to help them understand how they can play their part in improving safety offshore.
  • Gap analysis tool which can aid the identification of training requirements for technicians, supervisors and managers.
  • Senior leaders workshops have been held to help senior leaders within organisations to understand their role in managing Major Accident Hazards.
  • Materials and instructions for holding bowtie lunch and learn events in the workplace have been created.
  • Major Accident Hazard Awareness programme provides tools for organisations to have open conversations with their workforce on the subject. Guidance packs include:
    • Major Accident Hazard identification and risk analysis
    • Bowties and Safety and Environmental Critical and Environmental Elements
    • Barrier maintenance, assurance and verification
    • Own your barrier

Major Accident Hazard Understanding e-learning module

The e-learning module can help everyone understand a little more about managing hazards offshore and assist educating onshore workers who do not undertake MIST.

Visit the e-learning portal


  1. Fiona Fitzgerald
    Fiona Fitzgerald
    Evolve Consulting (Scotland) Ltd

    Fiona FitzGerald entered the oil & gas industry as an undergraduate where she offered business support to a range of clients. During this time, she discovered a passion for safety and has been working to help organizations manage risk for more than 25 years.

    Fiona has worked extensively across Europe, Africa, Russia and the United States with Baker Hughes. Prior to that, she worked as Facilities Manager in Equatorial Guinea. During her recent 10-year career as Principal Consultant with DNV, Fiona launched the OPITO accredited Elected Safety Representatives’ Development Training.

    In October 2021, Fiona established Evolve Consulting (Scotland) Ltd to deliver quality, safety, environmental risk management services to the oil & gas and renewables industries.

    Fiona is a Fellow of the Institute of Training & Occupational Learning, and she is currently pursuing studies in human factors and organisational psychology.

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  2. Stuart Taylor
    Stuart Taylor
    CNS Production Manager

    Stuart has more than three decades of experience in the energy industry working both onshore and offshore in front line operation management, operational improvement, maintenance and project roles.

    Stuart started his career with BP in 1990 within the technician apprenticeship scheme and quickly moved into a supervisory role before progressing to become an Operations Engineer then Offshore Installation Manager where he gained significant experience, including the Forties Regeneration Project and Beryl field / SAGE acquisition with Apache North Sea.

    Onshore, Stuart has also held the roles of Mechanical Engineer, Operations Efficiency Manager, Project Manager, Maintenance Manager and Production Manager. His current role is Forties Area Operations Manager where he is responsible for safe, reliable and efficient operations.

    View Linkedin Profile


A collection of files with relevance to the Major Accident Hazard Understanding workgroup which are free for you to download or access.

Bowtie Exercise

Download Bowtie ExerciseFiletype: zip

Understanding MAH gap analysis - Supervisors

Download Understanding MAH gap analysis - SupervisorsFiletype: xlsx

Understanding MAH gap analysis - Managers

Download Understanding MAH gap analysis - ManagersFiletype: xlsx

Understanding MAH gap analysis - Technicians

Download Understanding MAH gap analysis - TechniciansFiletype: xlsx

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