Ten simple things you can do to improve your oil spill preparedness
We have all lived through a global pandemic for over a year now, many of us locked down and working remotely. As a result, some companies in the oil and gas industry have been forced to make redundancies for a number of different reasons. Under such circumstances, the priority of oil spill preparedness within oil companies may have waned.
As we start to return to a new normal, it is therefore wise for businesses in the oil industry to assess:
- the level of investment in oil spill preparedness over the last 12 months
- the knowledge lost through headcount reductions
- short term actions to ensure they remain prepared to respond to an oil spill incident.
The following list is a guide to help organisations put in place some prevention barriers and readiness actions. The ultimate aim of the list is to help you and your organisation improve your preparedness. The list is not comprehensive and is in no particular order. Moreover, it assumes the reader is the leader of either an incident or emergency response team or equivalent.
1. Make sure your Oil Spill Contingency Plan (OSCP) or Oil Spill Response Plan (OSRP) is current
Check through your OSCP/OSRP to make sure it is up to date and relevant. First, ensure that the OSCP/OSRP references the correct hydrocarbons(s) and risk ratings. Then, review your worst-case scenario planning to make sure it is accurate.
Be familiar with your company's latest HSE (Health Safety and Environment) protocols and ensure the OSCP/OSRP reflects them. Check that the information is current, factual and represents the company's needs.
Refresh your mind on the procedures, roles and responsibilities and key actions required during an oil spill response. Make sure these are all correct. Then, to run through the planning cycling, check out the IOPG Good Practice Guide for Oil Spill Contingency Planning.
2. Review your relevant government guidelines and protocols to check whether anything has changed
3. Check your equipment
4. Restart your team exercises or do an oil spill scenario
5. Review the oil spill response knowledge and competence retained in your Incident Command Team
6. See what free relevant oil spill response courses there are online to refresh your knowledge
Have a look online to see what tools you can use to support the emergency response team if you have identified a need/gap. Check out some of the free online seminar programmes hosted by various companies, including IPIECA, GIWACAF and OSRL. See links at the end.
7. Check out the IPIECA/IMO/IOGP websites for up-to-date knowledge sharing, good practice guides and industry updates
8. Communicate with the Incident Command/Management Team, Crisis Management Team and the wider business regarding the oil spill response status of your business/operation/facility
9. Empower your team to share knowledge and do further (free) training if necessary and available
As part of your incident/emergency command team meetings, have a knowledge sharing session where each team member shares something they have learnt or something that resonates with them about oil spill response. Give them time to do some relevant research and share what they have found. This knowledge share will ensure your response community is talking about relevant subject matters and keeps the team members engaged.