Is Offshore Drilling Safe?

February 9, 2024

Is Offshore Drilling Safe?

The Oil and Gas industry is often associated with health and safety risks, and this includes the offshore drilling sector. The nature of offshore drilling operations, as well as the complexity of offshore drilling rigs and their design elements, creates hazards faced by the workforce in this industry. The remoteness and access to emergency services also further contributes to the dangers associated.

From hazardous chemicals, oil rig injuries, wellsite fires, potential for explosions, falls and more, there are serious risks involved for those working offshore on a rig.

But that being said, massive improvements have been achieved by science and the oil and gas industry to minimise these risks and ensure workers are kept as safe as possible. Strict Health and Safety regulations and protocols are in place and those working in the environment will have training and qualifications ensuring their safety is a priority. There is a substantial amount of mandatory legislation and compliance that offshore drilling companies must adhere to. The British Safety Council is in place to help organisations manage these essential HSE provisions.

The answer is therefore complex. It is important to remember the risks and hazards that come with working in offshore drilling are serious. However, with safety as a priority, proper assessment, procedures, inspection and training, the risks are minimised. To put this into perspective, in 2020 HSE reported that in the UK offshore industry, there were no fatal injuries that year, and six fatalities in the 10 years previous. There were 11 specified injuries, with a rate of 52 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. There were 47 over-seven-day injuries, with a rate of 224 per 100,000 FTE workers*.

Due to this, safety is critical when it comes to offshore oil rigs and those in the drilling industry. It is so important that nobody involved with the industry or job becomes complacent.

Ways to Keep Safe During Offshore Drilling

In order to help prevent injury when working in this industry, we have put together some important ways to maintain offshore drilling safety. This is an overview with some of the most important aspects to keeping safe when working offshore. However, there is a lot more involved, so it is important you properly research and undergo training in offshore safety before involving yourself in the work!

  1. Prioritise a Safety-First Culture

Whether you are an employee or contractor, it is important to put the safety of yourself and others in your team first in offshore drilling jobs. It’s helpful for leadership to ensure they are proactive when it comes to a safety mindset, and encourage others to follow suit.

As a team, you should have a community of trust and respect for eachother, with conversations about safety regularly taking place. All employees should also know how to properly report potential hazards, and should be encouraged to report any issues.

  1. Comply with Health and Safety Law

The offshore oil and gas industry is continuously changing and developing, and this also goes for the health and safety laws and regulations involved. You must have people responsible for ensuring your organisation is adhering to these laws and the information in use is up-to-date.

HSE has a very helpful guide for new businesses looking to enter the offshore oil and gas industry. This is helpful for knowing what you need in place when it comes to health and safety.

  1. Train Employees and Contractors Properly

New workers and contractors on the rig must undergo mandatory orientation. And following on from this, consistent training is important for workers in the industry to ensure they are capable and safe in their roles. There are numerous offshore drilling training courses, qualifications and accreditations that can support you and your team.

  1. Keep Machinery Maintained

An important part of safety in offshore drilling is conducting regular machinery maintenance, checks and inspections. This will help prevent potential hazards due to damaged parts and will also prevent machinery from failing prematurely. Different machines and parts will have different maintenance requirements.

  1. Wear Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a mandatory requirement across a number of industries. Within the offshore drilling industry, protective equipment such as safety glasses, hard hats, steel toe boots, protective gloves and fire resistant clothing will all be commonplace. However certain jobs and tasks will often require additional protection and equipment.

We hope this blog has been helpful in understanding the offshore drilling industry and safety. If you are in the offshore drilling industry, head over to our home page for more information on our specialised recruitment services. We work with candidates looking for work in the industry and clients requiring high quality ad-hoc or permanent personnel.

*Source:, 2020

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