Every employee has the right to live and work in a health and safety compliant environment. But in offshore locations, the challenges to health and safety are much more pronounced than in other industries.
Working in remote locations – on oil and gas rigs or scientific research vessels – offshore workers are subjected to a unique set of conditions that aren’t found on the mainland. Cramped conditions, industrial equipment and challenging weather patterns all ensure that offshore staff need access to high-quality medical care and emergency medical assistance.
With the right medical personnel and rigid health and safety planning, looking after the health of offshore workers can become a streamlined and efficient process. In today’s article, we explore how offshore employers can look after the health of their offshore staff.
Hire Qualified and Experienced Medical Personnel
Offshore working locations are required to have dedicated medical personnel on board to provide healthcare for the crew. Finding the right personnel for an offshore job isn’t always the easiest task for a recruiter, however.
As a minimum, offshore medical officers need a particular set of qualifications, but they should also have the right character and personality to fit in with offshore life.
Offshore employers need to hire experienced medical personnel who have the right skills to look after the health of the rest of the crew. This is particularly important because offshore medics are often the only medical provider on a vessel or rig.
Offshore medics need to be registered nurses and qualified as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). They need experience providing emergency first aid and CPR. While it’s rare for these skills to be put into action, it’s essential for the health and wellbeing of the crew that they know their medical officer has the capacity to save their life.
Provide Regular, Routine Medical Care
The key to a healthy crew isn’t in treatment, however, but rather in prevention. While offshore medics need the capacity and confidence to carry out emergency treatment, they should never have to do this.
Rather, they should be concerned with providing routine medical care and treatment before serious illness or medical problems arise. Although some accidents may be unavoidable, ensuring that the crew is healthy on a day-to-day basis is not unavoidable and should be actively encouraged.
Crewmembers need easy access to the onboard medical facilities, and the medical personnel should encourage them to visit the sickbay at the slightest instance of illness or injury, as leaving even small cuts or abrasions for a long time can lead to more serious infections days later in an industrial environment.
Ensure HSE Compliance
As part of a preventative strategy to keep offshore crews healthy, offshore locations should be HSE compliant. Health and safety compliance is an important aspect of the wellbeing of offshore workers, setting down guidelines and regulations that should be stringently followed at all times.
Stringent HSE policies prevent accidents and injuries in both the short and long term. HSE rules can stop serious injuries or loss of life by preventing industrial accidents, but they also prevent long-term illness from arising due to unsafe working conditions.
HSE compliance ensures that workers have access to the correct PPE gear to carry out their job safely. It ensures that hazardous chemicals and dangerous equipment are safely stored when not in use, that there are safe escape routes, fire prevention tactics, and much more.
Offer Regular HSE Training
HSE trained and qualified offshore medics to have the capacity to provide extensive health and safety training to staff while stationed offshore.
Offshore staff need to be thoroughly inducted when they first arrive, as each vessel can have different health and safety regulations and rules.
To keep crewmembers up to date with changing regulations, ongoing training should be provided too. This gives offshore workers the confidence to carry out action plans in the event of an emergency, but also knowledge of the dangers they face at work on a day-to-day basis.
Again, preventing accidents from occurring is the best way to keep staff fit and healthy while working offshore.
Track and Analyse Health and Safety Data
Employers can help to improve health care and safety onboard vessels by tracking and analysing data. It’s important that all incidents are recorded, including injuries or illnesses, as the data can lead to improved working conditions if problem areas are identified.
Oilfield Medics has created a bespoke platform that can assist with the collection and analysis of health and safety data in an offshore working environment. Health Matters Online is a platform that allows personnel to quickly and accurately record all medical information while also providing crewmembers with information on health and safety policies.
Offshore medics can use the technology to implement training programmes, induct new crewmembers, and identify ways to improve the health of offshore staff.
Continued Support Is Vital for Offshore Medics
Offshore health care is in the hands of trained medical personnel, but it’s integral to the health of the crew that medical personnel receive the support they need to carry out their duties and fulfil their responsibilities.
Oilfield Medics understands the need for continued support during a medic’s offshore placement. We’ve developed effective support channels that allow offshore medics to access quality information and advice from superiors and other medical professionals.
Contact Oilfield Medics Today for More Information on Offshore Health and Safety
The health and safety of offshore workers is not only a legal responsibility but a moral one too. All employers should be striving for health and safety compliance in the workplace, to prevent accidents and provide the highest quality medical care in the event of illness or injury.
Oilfield Medics provides the advice, experience and professional personnel necessary to look after the health of your offshore staff. We help the best offshore medics to find the most suitable placements while providing continued support. Contact Oilfield Medics today to find out more information.