Risk Management and Employee Safety

Risk assessments are an essential aspect of risk management. This tool assesses the likelihood of potential adverse events, their consequences, and the impact on the possible employees, which allows management to identify these risks and takes steps to mitigate these risks. This tool exposes a firm’s vulnerabilities and hazards, which enables decision-makers to assess the impact of the risks and what steps a firm should take to ensure the safety of their employees and assets (International Association of Oil and Gas Producers 2008).

Safety records from The International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP) show that the Loss Time Injury Frequency and Total Record able Incident Rate have improved significantly from 1996 to 2005.

By continually collecting safety records and implementing risk assessments, organizations can reduce the chances of injuries, safety hazards, and asset damages through ensuring that safety plans are in place and additional complementary processes can be applied to support these plans.

Case Study : Piper Alpha Incident

The Piper Alpha was one of the biggest offshore oil platforms in the UK, which produced around 300,000 barrels of crude oil daily. The platform then started gas production in December 1978 which led it to be one of the deadliest offshore rig incident in history.

On 6th July 1988, gas leakage from one of the condensate pipes had ripped an explosion through Piper Alpha at 22.00. At around 23.20, three high-pressure gas lines had ruptured and cause ignitions throughout the platform, which had weakened the structure, and it had started to collapse. The terrible accident had caused 167 fatalities and millions in damage.

Lessons from Piper Alpha are still relevant to the oil and gas industry today, which include management of design issues, the importance of employee safety over operational processes, the work permit processes, and scheduled maintenance plans. Additionally, there was inadequate communication between operators, poor emergency response , and the lack of emphasis of safety in their corporate culture.

Risk Assessments and Corporate Culture

By placing a heavy emphasis on ensuring that risk assessments are done regularly it provides reassurance to employees that their safety is the firm’s priority as these assessments also identifies who may be at risk during the operational processes. Management and employees themselves should hold responsibility not only for personal safety but for others around them; this includes increasing safety initiatives through risk assessments and systems that will benefit in the long run – the valuable lesson of being proactive and not reactive.


International Association of Oil and Gas Producers. 2008. “Managing Major Accident Risks.” Workshop Report. UK: The International Association of Oil and Gas Producers.

View our infographic on Risk Assessments here

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