Published on 22 October 2020
Captain Andy Goldsmith, Technical Adviser – Marine, sheds light on a new document published by the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) to bring clarity to basic safety training requirements for personnel employed in the offshore renewable energy sector
Prior to the commencement of work in the offshore renewable energy industry, all workers and mariners require a basic level of training. While it is important that the basic standard and quality of the training remains good, it is recognised that there are a number of nuances in applying different training standards. It is further recognised that basic safety training is the minimum requirement, further training may be required dependent on the location and task.
IMCA has just published ‘Basic Safety Training Requirements for Personnel Employed in the Offshore Renewable Energy Sector’ (IMCA C 018) which incorporates what IMCA, and operators, such as Ørsted and Vattenfall, feel is an invaluable matrix which greatly aids clarity for the marine renewable energy sector. It is designed to eliminate confusion, and duplication of basic training which can not only be costly in terms of both time and financial investment but also affects the morale of marine contractor personnel. The matrix ensures that clearly defined safety measures can be put in place right at the start of every offshore renewable energy project.
Technical Adviser – Marine
The Basic Safety Training Matrix within IMCA C 018 defines the minimum level of health and safety training, as well as the minimum medical fitness, needed to work on and from vessels employed on an offshore renewable energy project.
It has been designed by a working group of IMCA’s Marine Renewable Energy Committee that was chaired by Marc van Dorth of Seaway 7. The group was represented by members from IMCA’s Diving, Marine, ROV and Offshore Survey Committees and published as an IMCA Competence & Training Guideline.
The matrix shows the Basic Safety Training requirements dependant on where an offshore worker is located. The working patterns and environment for personnel employed on a vessel are significantly different from personnel deployed directly from ashore to an offshore structure. Therefore, Basic Safety Training requirements cannot be generalised and are different for both groups of personnel.
With acceptance of the matrix comes understanding of marine contractor’s commitment to the Standard on Training Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW Code) an internationally accepted standard for the training of seafarers. Indeed, marine personnel are required by international law to be trained to STCW (or equivalent domestic certification for vessels less than 500gt) which forms an all-important part of each individual’s competency requirements.
The three-page matrix clearly lists the Basic Safety Training courses that marine personnel and other personnel employed on a vessel need to undertake; something that has, until now, been subject to potential duplication. Work locations are classified as ‘Access to vessel only (construction, service or crew transfer)’; ‘Access to offshore foundation (transition piece, jacket or offshore platform)’; and ‘Full access to offshore assets’.
The aim of the document is to provide a standard Basic Safety Training requirement for inclusion at contract awards stage, covering those employed on-board vessels during the construction and maintenance support phases of offshore renewable energy projects. In the Executive Summary, IMCA stresses that this Basic Safety Training is only one element of an individual’s competency requirement. The matrix does not detail training required by individuals to be competent in the role for which they have been employed. This level of training should be identified in a detailed Competence Assurance framework which should be addressed by a company Competence Assurance scheme.
As with all IMCA guidance the aim is to ensure safety remains the vital component in all operations at every level.