Learning from Experience
My colleague and I felt we had been betrayed by the company – Shell, by the OIM – the man responsible for the safety of everyone on the platform, and by those at the permit office – the people that should have coordinated the work better.
Neither of us had been trained to use a gas detector or a self-rescue breathing set so it was hardly surprising that we didn’t know what to do when the detector alarmed and when we tried to use the self-rescue breathing sets. Nobody had asked us if we had been trained, in fact, we weren’t trained to use the work permit system either.
I looked at the work permit for the first time to see what this said about the safety precautions for the job. It made no mention of either a gas detector or self-rescue breathing sets even though there was provision to specify them using checkboxes.
How could we be seen as so wrong when the people that should have been helping us to stay safe had been so lax in the way they managed the work? Now it was my turn to be annoyed and from that day on I read every work permit, read the various procedures and generally became a bit of nuisance, as I was ‘Captain Compliance’ complaining when the details on the work permit weren’t either correct or complete.
A few months later I decided to move on and work elsewhere. My experience though, stayed with me as I found it difficult to comprehend how the people that I relied upon as managers had such a low regard for my wellbeing, in fact for my life. Had there really been toxic gas in the concrete leg I wouldn’t be writing this now.