Inclusive Offshore Working Practices

Step Change in Safety and AXIS Network are partnering to develop guidance for operators and the supply chain on inclusive offshore working practices.

Step Change in Safety shares AXIS’ passion for inclusive working environments which we believe allows all of our people to be themselves, and to be fully present at work. It’s in our industry’s best interests to create an inclusive environment where members of the workforce can do their very best work and allow us all to do our jobs properly and safely.

We have partnered with AXIS to promote an inclusive offshore working environment for all whilst recognising the present climate is bias towards the male gender. We will identify areas to improve upon, where lack of inclusivity may have an impact on safety performance and recommend best practice for a mutually inclusive workplace.

As part of this campaign, we aim to:​

  • Create a safe and open environment to seek community feedback on experiences of offshore and onsite to allow us to drive change

  • Share good practice from individuals and companies through case studies to drive improvement across the Energy Sector

  • Produce guidelines for organisations to efficiently promote inclusivity offshore and on-site

  • Work with the supply change to ensure there is adequate consideration for all personnel working offshore and onsite


AXIS Network

Find out more about AXIS Network

Guidelines launched to help build more inclusive workplaces offshore

Recognising the important role inclusion plays in any workplace in terms of productivity, engagement and mental health, AXIS in partnership with Step Change in Safety, led a comprehensive pan-industry project to better understand the experiences of people working offshore.

The guidelines, based on a number of good practises curated by the project team, are one of a number of resources developed by the group and cover everything from helping prepare people mobilising offshore for the first time, to guidance on providing female fit PEP and survival suits.

Sarah Clark, Project Lead, “While our industry has taken big steps to improve gender balance, this hasn't yet translated offshore, with women only making up 3% of the workforce. Some of this is due to the talent pipeline, but we understood from our members that it is also to do with the perception that the working environment is not welcoming. With the industry embarking on the energy transition, employers must be attractive to future talent, and that requires a different, more inclusive approach. We can benefit from a wider range of experience and viewpoints by expanding our workforce to be representative."

Caroline Lawford, Project Team Member “We took a unique D&I viewpoint, surveying offshore workers and investigating ways to address their concerns. We are grateful to the organisations who shared their practical solutions, enabling the project to collate resources for people and companies to improve inclusion offshore.”

Aimie Clark, Step Change in Safety’s Programme Delivery Co-ordinator and Axis Focal point said: “Step Change in Safety was delighted to partner with AXIS for this project. We believe that it gave us an opportunity to reinforce the need for industry to recognise that “one size” does not fit all when it comes to emergency preparedness training, offshore induction, offshore welfare and PPE.

“It’s in our industry’s best interests to create an inclusive environment where every member of the workforce has access to safety training, equipment and PPE that enables them to do their very best work.”

These materials provide practical advice and quick wins for employers and leaders working offshore which can help build a more inclusive culture, a key factor in people’s experience of their working environment.

AXIS Infographic R6

Inclusive Offshore Working - Guidelines for Mobilising Offshore

Mobilising offshore for your first time, or your first time to a new asset can be quite scary or daunting, but for companies across the sector this is something that's done all day, every day. It's sometimes easy to forget the fears and concerns that individuals may have. We have created an editable guideline document to align with your business as an aid to be distributed to employees and vendors prior to mobilisation.

Download here: Guidelines for Mobilising Offshore Editable Version


Case Studies

Survival Suits

We have all struggled at one time or another. There is one common consistency - for the majority of men, the suit received prior to boarding the helicopter will fit in a safe manner. And whilst there will naturally be some individuals where the suit is a bit loose around the neck or wrist, or it's just too tight; there will be another suit available. For women this is a different story.

For the majority of women, they have experienced the above scenario multiple times whilst going offshore. All because the survival suits are not designed for the female anatomy. Whilst men have larger necks and wrists, perfect for obtaining the desired seal; women are smaller in both of these areas but their larger hips and chest will drive them up a suit size, meaning often the offshore helicopter survival suits will be too big at the seal points making them unsafe. What's the solution? The AXIS Network spoke to one company who sought to combine equality, inclusion and innovation in their provision of aviation survival suits, ensuring a safer and more comfortable trip offshore for everyone, regardless of their gender.


Download the case study

Survival Suit Case Study

Size Matters

Axis Network met with John Watson (Spirit Energy, Senior HSE Adviser Supply Chain) and Victoria Newbatt (Spirit Energy, Senior Category Specialist Wells & Subsurface) to hear about how Spirit challenged their approach to PPE procurement and ensured a range to suit all personnel, inclusive of size and shape.

Download the case study: Size Matters


Working towards greater diversity in the energy sector

At the start of 2021, AXIS Network worked with their pledge partners - Petrofac Training - on improving their survival training programme. Petrofac implemented a number of measures, see below interview between P&J and Petrofac for details!

​Click here to read the article in greater detail.


The Power of Feedback

AXIS met with Sarah-Alice Davies (Shell UK, Brent Charlie Wells Supervisor) and Jason Grant (Aberdeen Drilling School, Managing Director) to hear how the drilling school have recently adopted gender-inclusive language in their courses. For more on the importance of gender-inclusive language, we recommend the book Invisible Women, by Caroline Criado-Perez.

Read all about it here.


Getting the fit right with Supply Chain

AXIS Network met with Austen Buchan (Managing Director, Mo&Co) to hear how they are working with their customers to ensure there is a range of suitably fitting PPE for all.

Read more here.


Women's-fit PPE isn't just about comfort, it's about safety!

This case study is an output from an initiative run by AXIS Network and Step Change in Safety to drive inclusivity offshore. Red Wing joined in the project to help identify why, in 2021, women were still struggling to access female-fit PPE. According to the OGUK Workforce Report 2019, women represented 3% of the offshore workforce.

Read more about the case study here.


Offshore Expressing

Returning to work after having a baby is a challenging time for most parents. Even more so when the workplace is offshore, and you don’t get the opportunity to spend the evening with your child. Many fathers across the offshore industry will know this feeling well, but a growing number of women are also returning to offshore roles after becoming a parent. One of the key differences in a mother’s return to work in comparison to a father’s is the possibility that the mother may be breastfeeding the child.

We spoke to mum of two and Decommissioning Team Lead, Caroline Lawford about her experience of going offshore whilst still breastfeeding.

Download case study: Offshore Expressing


Communication is key to make the most of female-fit PPE offshore

AXIS Network caught up with Kristin Hamilton and Kenny Robertson from the Red Wing Shoe Company to discuss the challenges to increasing access to female-fit PPE offshore and more on how the company caters to both genders through its safety footwear and PPE offering.

Click here to read


Inclusive Environments Attract Talent

AXIS Network caught up with Lindsay Patterson, a Senior Engineer of Operations providing Electrical Engineering Support to the Mariner Field, Mariner A Production platform and Mariner B FSU in the UKCS, based in Aberdeen to hear all about her varied working experience, and how an inclusive environment can make all the difference.

Lindsay has a BEng in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, a degree studied for part time whilst training as an Instrument designer and has been working in the O&G industry for 10 years, having previously worked in building services. She has spent time working in the UKCS, Angola and Norway.

Download case study Inclusive Environments Attract Talent


2-piece Coveralls

AXIS Network met with Kelly Thomas & Susannah Stott (Shell UK) to hear how Shell have widened their range of coveralls available to ensure all body types are catered for. Kelly is currently leading the review and reorganisation of PPE provision in Shell Aberdeen as part of the 50 50 ops initiative which is led by Susannah.

Download the case study 2 piece Coveralls


The Importance of Stakeholder Engagement

As part of AXIS Networks' current research on gender inclusivity in the offshore industry, they caught up with Gillian Robb and James Macgregor from Rock Rose Energy in January 2020 to chat about their company's approach to a more inclusive offshore environment.

What started out as a campaign to improve PPE offering to offshore workforce, Rock Rose uncovered other critical issues blocking the path to inclusivity offshore whilst engaging with key stakeholders.

Download the case study to see what they uncovered, and how they fixed the problem.

A Change of Strategy

As part of AXIS Networks' ongoing research into gender inclusivity in business, they caught up with Holly Paterson from Sky in January 2020 to chat about her organisations change of strategy to attract and retain more women in the Home team.

Download the case study to find out more.


Download the case study

A Change of Strategy

Thought leadership blogs

Food, Glorious Food

Food is important. Food gives us energy, it helps our bodies, and our minds, recover, but its more than that. Food is part of many people’s culture, sewed deep within us; we seek comfort, inspiration, aspirations from our daily consumption. Food, for many, is joy. If you have dietary requirements, whether allergies, personal choice or as part of your religion, eating offshore can be a concern.

Read about one asset's effort to create a more inclusive environment here.


Inclusive Environment

The first time you arrive at a site or offshore platform, the feeling can be daunting. Not knowing what to bring or what to expect is challenging. Often, the offshore is a hierarchical environment and traditionally, leadership is demonstrated by command and control. However, to foster an inclusive environment, people need to feel safe to be themselves. To foster an inclusive environment this will require incremental changes and a desire by everyone to make this happen...

Read Lydia Balogun-Wilson's thought leadership feature here.


The "Lone Female" Phenomenon

The “Lone female” or “Single Female” phenomenon is one that is not exclusive to the offshore industry; it’s been around for years in pop culture. The figure is always portrayed as a lonely & sad, almost always pitied character; which coincidentally is how you end up feeling when you’re told that you can’t go offshore or have to de-mob early because you’re a woman and the platform needs the bed space.

Read more here.


Dedicated Female Facilities

Women have worked in the offshore environment for decades and even though their numbers have grown from a very limited minority, it is no longer surprising to find a representation of women in all levels of offshore operations. What is more surprising is how the speed of facility upgrades continues to flag behind the progress of incumbent roles, and as any member of any minority group can attest to, it can often be daunting to rock the boat and request for change. So, time progresses, and the attitude becomes one of acceptance and silent distress. The following is a 'thought leadership' piece by one of the Inclusive Offshore Working project team, Olayide Akinsomi, based on her experience of working on various offshore installations and proposes solutions to collectively drive a step change that creates an inclusive environment for women.


Download this Thought Leadership blog

Dedicated Female Facilities

Working Offshore Whilst Pregnant

For most women, discovering you are pregnant throws up a multitude of emotions, but anxiety about your job shouldn’t be one of them. Offshore roles are not always compatible with pregnancy, but companies may prevent a ‘leaky pipeline’ and achieve greater gender balance offshore by being clearer in the options available to women if they become pregnant.

Caroline Lawford, mum of two talks about her experience of working offshore whilst pregnant.

Download this Thought Leadership blog Working Offshore Whilst Pregnant


We really want to hear your thoughts, views and suggestions for a safer, more inclusive offshore environment

In order to collect feedback from the offshore workforce regarding inclusivity offshore, we have created a short survey that should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. You can take part in the survey by clicking here.

If you’d be interested in sharing a story, feedback, or suggestions, then please contact us at

Meet the Workgroup

Ian Mackay
Kasi Usani
Katy Crawford
Lydia Balogun Wilson
Olayide Akinsomi
Sarah Clark
Turan Daspan
Caroline Lawford


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