I Only Thought I Was Too Tired

really feel like spewing out a huge rant right now. I’m so tired I don’t know if it’ll go anywhere, but we’ll see. Fair warning!

I only fell asleep last night about 0130. Had the alarm set for 0330 so I could get up and be sure to have enough time to find my way to safety ‘training’ this morning. They said to be there by 0645, locked out if not there by 0700. I didn’t want to drive all the way up there, just to be locked out. So I made sure I’d get there plenty early.

Anyway. I spent the entire day from 0700-1600 with only a couple of 10 min breaks and a half hour for lunch going over some really basic safety stuff. Things I’ve been in control of for decades. I’ve been the one writing the JSAs, controlling the permits, writing the work procedures, testing the tanks, running the drills, writing the safety manuals, giving the safety training. Things I’ve been in charge of teaching others for decades.

WTF is all that experience completely worthless? I’ve got training certificates out the ring-yang, but not a one of them acceptable. Grrrrr…

These companies take no interest in the fact that their students know more about the subject than their teachers, if you don’t have the specific piece of paper for the specific company, it just doesn’t matter. You’re going to waste more time in ‘training’! (how do you make an ANGRY smiley face?)

Why the hell can’t they standardize their certificates so that you don’t need to get 2 dozen different ones to do the same damn thing! It’s the same offshore. No benefit to anybody except the training centers making a mint off these scams.

It pisses me off to no end to have to repeat this stuff over and over and over and over and over and over and over and especially when I’m not getting paid for it! Even more when I have to waste my money as well as my time. At least they didn’t charge me for it today. 

Or maybe it would’ve been better if they had. I would have immediately refused instead of spending all day today up there and tomorrow too. I wouldn’t be furiously steaming all afternoon about their company policies.

This all ties right in with my post from yesterday. The absolutely insane ideas people in the US have come to believe in the last couple of decades. The huge loss of freedom, individual liberty and human rights. The absolute and complete disrespect for us as individual human beings and our innate dignity.

They did spend about a half hour telling us about their company and allowing us to ask questions. That was useful. I learned a few things. Continue reading

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Is it Safer to Work Offshore in 2013?

Is it Safer to Work Offshore in 2013?.

Well, I don’t really know. I would like to see some statistics on how it compares to back in say the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s. Personally, I think its probably a LITTLE better. The companies I’ve been working with are constantly harping on safety. They go on and on til its coming out our ears. But I still hear of people doing really stupid things. Like that fire on the platform back in November last year , due to improper welding operations (http://www.blackelkenergy.com/news/67-explosion-and-fire-on-gulf-platform-occurred-during-welding-contractors-failed-to-follow-standard-safety-practices.html) . I mean, jeeze…

What the hell is it going to take?? I get sick and tired of being treated like a moron when I go to work. The company has to tell me how to get dressed in the morning? REALLY???

I’ve only been working offshore (professionally) since 1977! Having to re-take classes like BST (Basic Safety Training) or Rigpass really gets old. I mean, who forgets how to put on a life jacket??? What’s new in shipboard fire fighting? We have the same classes of fires we’ve always had (except they now label a galley grease fire as “K” for kitchen I guess- trying to make it SEEM like there’s actually something new). We fight them the same way.

I think the way to make things safer offshore is to concentrate on creating a culture of personal responsibility!!! Get people to understand that they can do what they’re going to do but THEY are responsible for their actions. They’ll pay attention if they know THEY are going to pay the price if anything goes wrong.

The fact is that we have all sorts of programs out here that SEEM to encourage safety. Instead, they take the ability to THINK about and then CHOOSE their actions away from people. Take away options from people and you take with it their responsibility. You can only BLAME them then, since you’ve taken away any REAL choices.

It seems to me these companies love to send people to these classes so they can tell the world, “it’s not OUR fault those people got hurt. After all, we sent them to training. They should have known how to do the job properly without getting hurt.” Yeah, like a day long class is really going to teach someone ALL they need to know to work safely out here. I don’t think so!

I’m NOT saying we need to go to any more classes!!! What I AM saying is that once a person goes through those very basic classes, they have only the bare minimum of knowledge. We can and should use the time spent in our weekly drills and safety meetings to train people PAST that bare minimum!

Those of us out here with some experience need to take into consideration that SOME of the people we’re working with are almost totally ignorant! From my perspective, it seems like a lot of the incidents are happening with relatively new people. We need to concentrate our efforts on training THOSE people! We need to keep a good eye on them. We need to take the time to really MENTOR them. We need to be generous with our time and our knowledge and not keep it to ourselves in fear of losing our jobs to the newbies…

It would help a LOT if we were not constantly having the crew size cut and cut and cut some more! OK, this below is referring to shipping and not so much drilling since I don’t know too much about drilling yet (but its probably still relevant)…

A typical ship used to carry a crew of 45-50 men. Now they sail with half that (and LOTS more work to do)! Some COIs (Certificate Of Inspection) will allow only 17 man crew (or less). This is for a 1000 ft long tanker!!! ATBs (tug/barge combination) which can run up to 600-700+ feet long, can be run with less than 10!!!

Check out the REAL results of the investigation into the Exxon Valdez incident. You’ll find that it was actually caused by the fact that the entire crew was exhausted and had NOTHING to do with the Captain at all. He could have been totally sober or drunk as a skunk and it wouldn’t have made a damn bit of difference.

They passed the 12 hour rule after the Valdez spill to remedy that. There are work hour restrictions in US law and in the STCW. So it applies to pretty much ALL shipping worldwide. That does include all the larger oilfield support vessels. I don’t know how the drilling industry has escaped notice on this but I don’t know of anything similar that they have to abide by (I might just be uninformed on this point- any drillers to comment?).

Ask any sailor around the world how well they follow that rule. I can almost guarantee you they’re being ‘forced’ by their company policies to break it constantly. Of course, company will never admit it, will blame it on the crew if it ever comes up, and will deny they ever had any idea it was happening 😦

Being tired is one of the leading causes of accidents. I would think that would be one very easy solution to vastly improve safety. But of course, it would cost some extra money to hire a few extra hands. Is that gonna happen any time soon???

Safety first??? I don’t think so 😦