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Face to Face or Worlds Away: is it Safe to Return to Face to Face Training?

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Face to Face or Worlds Away

Recently, we delivered some face to face OPEP 3 training to one of our members in Aberdeen. Previously a regular occurrence that we probably wouldn't have written about at the beginning of the year. Much has changed since then and delivering remote training is currently more common than face to face. We wanted to share this experience to demonstrate how face to face training can be achieved safely in a COVID-19 world. 


The member requested training as they recently had some changes meaning that more personnel needed training to enable them to fill the environmental role on the emergency team. The Nautical Institute accredits the OPEP 3 training course, and they require face to face delivery of this training rather than a remote course. The Aberdeen office status was then Amber (as per OSRL classification), so before carrying out this training, we requested a Risk Assessment from the member for accessing and using their office. A Method Statement was written and submitted to the OSRL CMT for approval. 


On arrival at the offices one-way systems were in place, hand sanitiser available and physical barriers fitted to protect the reception staff.  


We delivered the training in the Emergency Response Centre, which was challenging from a training point of view as the delegates were behind large monitors. It did allow everyone to maintain a 2m distance from each other, and for us to keep a one-way system in the room as there were two separate entrances.  


The member provided a safety brief before the training commenced to run through the COVID 19 mitigations that were in place as well as the "standard" safety information such as fire alarms and muster points.  


We were all also issued a "Mini Hygiene Pack" with Hand Gel, Personal Issue pens, Stylus pen (for operating the touch screen coffee machine, essential!) E45 cream and tissues. 


The training went well with excellent feedback from the delegates. There are some key takeaways from running the course: 

  • More preparation is required. All of the activities had to be printed and handed out before the start of the training course. To issue the training packs, we wore disposable gloves, and we wiped down each plastic folder individually. We also had to modify some of the tasks. 
  • The use of digital remains an important tool even when delivering face to face. We could not collect in any completed paperwork, so attendees’ details and registers had to be completed by us or emailed to the delegates and returned. 
  • We had to consider how we were working together as trainers. We made sure that only one of us was operating the laptop and we had a clicker each. 
  • As people become familiar with an environment complacency can occur. Trainers and delegates need to remain vigilant that we are all complying with controls. 

It is also worth mentioning that at 1700hrs on the last day of training, Aberdeen City went back into lockdown with restrictions re-imposed on the opening of cafes, pubs and restaurants, people were restricted to travel within 5 miles of home and asked to refrain from entering each other's houses. With this change, we have re-designated the status of the Aberdeen Office back to red, so it is unlikely that we will be delivering any other face to face training in the near future. Our UKCS members are still keeping us busy though with remote bookings of OPEP2s and Refreshers in August and September. 

Author Bio(s)

Lucy Bly

Aberdeen Manager

Lucy leads the OSRL Aberdeen team supporting UKCS Members with incident and exercise support, delivering training and providing specialist advice. Since commencing her career with OSRL, Lucy has responded to spills both in the UKCS and internationally, such as the Deepwater Horizon incident. Lucy also participates in industry workgroups hosted by IPIECA and OEUK, developing industry good practices.