Working offshore means you often travel to remote and extraordinary places. The journey to some offshore platforms can be rather long, yet nonetheless rewarding. Ampelmann audit operator John Gibson recounts his visit to an offshore platform in Sakhalin, Russia, where he worked with Ampelmann’s N-type system.
“I spent three days just to get to the project site; three flights and a 12-hour train ride got me to basecamp.” There, he got snowed in and “had to wait two whole days for the blizzard to lie down before a chopper could take me to the project site at last.” While approaching the platform, John was rewarded with a beautiful view. The sea was covered with ice floes in chaotic symmetry. “The sea had just started its cycle of freezing over for the winter, it was a sight I will never forget.”
As an audit operator, John has spent many years working offshore and in the past 12 of those years, he has been working in offshore access. In his role, John visits offshore projects and carries out risk-based audits on site. His job doesn’t only take him different places, but also gets him to work on different projects and with different systems - from the small electric L-type to the impressive N-type and everything in between.
“An audit is a snapshot of the processes we have in place for our offshore projects,” says John. With his audits, he will look over the documentation, method statements, hazard identification (HAZID) and check certification. All this work is done to ensure that the processes are compliant with legislation and safety regulations, and that offshore operations are done in the safest way possible.
John is passionate about the topics of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) and wants to ensure that HSE standards are continuously improved offshore.
To do so, he would look at procedures, processes and machinery with a different perspective compared to other employees. This is where his experience and qualifications come in handy. John is qualified as a Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) engineer, lead auditor and is a technical member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). “When I spot something that needs to be addressed, I ensure it is recorded, as is my duty as auditor,” says John. Only by pointing out where improvements can be made, can such improvements take place.
Offshore work requires a lot of travel and so does John’s job. Luckily, he enjoys travelling and it is an aspect of the job that allows him to meet different people from all over the world, get to know different cultures and while the work environment can be harsh at some remote locations, his visits often deliver breath-taking views.
Perhaps unsurprisingly so, the COVID-19 situation disrupted some of John’s work at far-away locations. Instead, he did follow-up audits in the UK and around Europe.
“I saw this as an opportunity,” he says, “I could follow up on the recommendations I made and see the improvements that had taken place, which was very rewarding”. Another rewarding part of his job is the improvement of operations and processes done offshore. “With Ampelmann, we strive to continuously improve the working environment offshore.”
John is not only focused on the improvement of offshore operations, but also on his own personal development. He believes that it is important to never stop developing yourself. This is one of the reasons why he hopes to complete a bachelor’s degree in risk management before he retires. Meanwhile, John will continue to strive for the highest possible standards of health and safety within our offshore operations.