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 all Major Accident Hazards, barriers must be put in place. To help those working in the industry to identify the barriers that can be put in place to prevent major accidents, the Step Change in Safety Major Accident Hazard Understanding workgroup has developed a suite of educational resources for members to use.

These resources are designed to help people to understand how their actions can manage Major Accident Hazards and the potential causes of harm associated with them. The learning materials also highlight the importance of ensuring that the necessary safeguards and barriers are fit for purpose to ensure that the potential for harm is eliminated, managed or reduced.

The objective of the Major Accident Hazard Understanding workgroup is to prevent Major Accidents through the use of training materials to educate the industry’s workforce in Major Accident Hazards and Process Safety Management.


Contact Workgroup

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

Work scope

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
  2. Stuart Taylor


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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