Boosting Safety and Efficiency: A Case Study in Offshore Oil and Gas Crew Development

Image of a Drill Ship for blog post - A Case Study in Offshore Oil and Gas Crew Development

Jun 10, 2024

A Case Study in Offshore Oil and Gas Crew Development


  • Situation: Our client, a major engineering and rig management company in the offshore oil and gas industry, faced a challenge in transitioning a second Drillship from project refurbishment to operational readiness. The diverse, multinational crew required cohesive communication and unity.
  • Task: Assemble and prepare an effective crew quickly while ensuring clear communication and safety protocols in a multi-lingual environment.
  • Action: We implemented tailored training sessions, safety coaching, and a Bridging Cultures programme. We also Developed Toolbox Talk Picture Guides to overcome language barriers and enhance team cohesion.
  • Result: The client exceeded safety and operational performance expectations, experienced cohesive teams, and secured future contracts, achieving remarkable safety awareness and operational efficiency.

Continue for more detail.


Our client is a leading full-service engineering, construction, and rig management company specialising in the offshore oil and gas industry. It has over 550 experts in design, mechanical and civil engineering, project and operational management, supply chain management, and business administration.

The company is dedicated to delivering top-tier engineering, construction, and rig management skills. Its strategic approach combines design engineering, recruitment and crew management, and hands-on field experience to meet the demands of both onshore and offshore developments. This showcases a commitment to innovation and excellence in diverse technologies and solutions.

Our client faced a critical challenge in swiftly transitioning from project refurbishment to operational readiness for a second Drillship. This phase required technical preparation and assembling a cohesive crew, a task complicated by the team's diversity in terms of nationalities and languages.


Our client faced a significant challenge in swiftly transitioning from project refurbishment to operational readiness for the second Drillship they were managing and operating for the national oil company. This phase required technical preparation and assembling a cohesive crew in a short turnaround time.

With a diverse team spanning various nationalities and languages, the complexity of building an effective crew became a focal point. Ensuring clear communication and unity among the crew members was essential to maintaining safety and achieving operational efficiency in the initial drilling campaigns.

We, Safety Collaborations, were contracted to bring our expertise to the project team, address this challenge, and assist with the crew development.

The primary task was to ensure clear communication and unity among the diverse crew members to maintain safety and achieve operational efficiency.


We implemented the following actions to address the challenge:

Improving Offshore Drillship Safety Through Tailored Learning Bites

In offshore drilling, safety is paramount. Our tailored training initiatives ensure every team member is prepared and has the knowledge and skills to navigate potential risks confidently.

Continuous learning is essential. Our Learning Bites sessions cover relevant topics for offshore work.

Our approach includes:

  1. Understanding the Why: Explaining the purpose behind safety tools.
  2. Hands-On Learning: Practical exercises to master safety protocols.
  3. Stop Work Authority: Empowering everyone to halt operations if safety is at risk.
  4. Active Participation: Encouraging engagement to build a safety culture.
  5. Soft Skills Development: Enhancement of personal skills development.
  6. Personalised Coaching: Addressing specific challenges for preparedness.

These sessions served as interactive and engaging learning opportunities. They lasted 45 to 90 minutes and covered various topics, including client safety tools, soft skills, team building, and human factors.

The bite-sized learning sessions accommodated busy schedules while maximising learning outcomes. By focusing on practical and relevant skills, we aimed to equip crew members with the tools and knowledge necessary to excel in their roles and contribute positively to team dynamics.

Additionally, our Safety Coach played a vital role in onboard orientation for crew members from service partners who were new to offshore environments. Providing them with a comprehensive overview of drilling operations and offshore life, addressing any queries, and ensuring they were paired with a buddy for their initial trip, ensuring the safety and well-being of all crew members, regardless of their background or experience level.

By implementing these tailored training initiatives, we saw remarkable improvements in safety awareness and performance onboard the Drillship. Teams now had a more comprehensive understanding of the safety tools used by our client and the confidence to use them effectively, resulting in safer operations and enhanced peace of mind for all involved.

Through these initiatives, we enhanced team cohesion and personal skills development. We promoted a continuous learning and development culture, ensuring every crew member felt supported and empowered to succeed.

Safety Coaching

We understood the critical role of leaders and supervisors in cultivating a safety culture and driving performance on the Drillship.

Our [Safety Collaborations] Safety Leadership Coaching programme specifically empowers leaders and supervisors, taking them from good to great in their safety leadership journey.

Our Approach:

  • Tailored Coaching Process: Our experienced coaches employed a robust coaching process customised to leaders' and supervisors' unique challenges and goals onboard the Drillship. Through formal coaching sessions and ad hoc informal conversations, we guided leaders on a journey of self-discovery and growth, helping them bridge the gap between their current state and their desired level of safety leadership.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: We worked closely with key stakeholders on the drillship, including Offshore Installation Managers (OIMs), camp bosses, technical team leaders, supervisors, foremen, and rig managers. Engaging with these stakeholders ensured our coaching interventions aligned with the drillship operation's specific needs and priorities.

Focus Areas:

  • Safety at Work: Equipping leaders with the tools and communication strategies to reduce the likelihood of accidents, incidents, and injuries onboard the Drillship.
  • Leadership: Enhancing leaders' communication with less experienced employees and compliance with safety protocols.
  • Team Development: Cultivating cohesive teams through effective communication, problem-solving, feedback mechanisms, and change management strategies.
  • Bridging Cultures: Empowering leaders to navigate cultural diversity for inclusive environments.
  • Training and Learning at Work: Maximised safety knowledge and skills through peer learning.

Our tailored coaching interventions empowered leaders and supervisors to create safer, more productive, and inclusive work environments, ultimately enhancing overall performance and safety outcomes.

Safety Coaching in Bridging Cultures for Safety Programme

We implemented a bespoke Safety Coaching in Bridging Cultures for Safety Programme. This initiative was grounded in fundamental principles:

  • Embracing Diversity: Recognising that we are all unique, adherence to common rules and regulations is imperative for safe and efficient operations.
  • Understanding Cultural Dynamics: Delving into the intricacies of cultural diversity and its profound impact on team performance.
  • Leadership in Multicultural Settings: Equipping leaders with the tools and mindset to effectively manage and lead in diverse workplaces.

The programme had far-reaching impacts across various domains:

  • Inclusion: By cultivating a sense of belonging and inclusivity among crew members from diverse backgrounds.
  • Communication: Breaking down language barriers and facilitating effective communication channels.
  • Team Development: Cultivating cohesion and synergy within the team to enhance collaboration and productivity.
  • Psychological Safety: Creating an environment where individuals feel safe to voice concerns and ideas without fear of retribution.
  • Conflict Management: Equipping crew members with conflict resolution skills to address differences constructively.
  • Safety-Centric Leadership: Instilling a culture where safety is prioritised and integrated into every aspect of operations.

The benefits of the Bridging Cultures for Safety Programme:

  • Improved Relationships: Strengthening connections among team members.
  • Enhanced Leadership: Providing leaders with practical, cultural navigation skills.
  • Personal Growth: Empowering individuals to appreciate different cultures.
  • Operational Excellence: Aligning safety practices with organisational culture.

Through this programme, our client bridged cultural divides and cultivated a high-performance team capable of upholding safety standards and achieving operational success amidst diversity.

Facilitating Multinational Crew Development with Language Barrier Challenges

We developed Toolbox Talk Picture Guides for supervisors and crew members to address language differences in our multinational crew.

These guides were invaluable tools for enhancing communication and understanding amidst linguistic diversity. They encompassed detailed visuals and simplified explanations of essential drilling equipment, tools, key terms, and phrases. By leveraging visual aids and straightforward language, we aimed to transcend linguistic barriers and ensure clarity and comprehension among all crew members, irrespective of their proficiency in English.

Key features of the Toolbox Talk Picture Guides included:

  1. Visual Clarity: Detailed illustrations for easy understanding.
  2. Simple Language: Clear explanations of essential terms.
  3. Cultural Sensitivity: Inclusive imagery and terminology.
  4. Supervisor Support: Empowering leaders to facilitate communication.

Developing these guides bridged the language gap and encouraged a more inclusive and collaborative work environment. Through enhanced communication and understanding, the multinational crew was better equipped to execute tasks safely and efficiently, driving operational excellence amidst linguistic diversity.

The above actions directly address the challenges by developing solid teams that can navigate the nuances of offshore drilling within the constraints of the swift transition from project refurbishment to operational readiness. The aim was to minimise risk and run an efficient operation.

Images of crew development and training on an oil rig for B010 Case Study post
Various crew development images taken during the project onboard the Drill Ship.


As a result of these strategic interventions, our client exceeded its safety and operational performance expectations during the initial drilling campaigns.

They experienced cohesive teams and no consequential or high-potential incidents in the initial drilling campaigns. Considering the inexperienced local crew in a developing oil and gas territory, this was a substantial achievement and the short turnaround to bring on the expatriate crew.

These results exceeded their expectations and resulted in ongoing and secured future contracts with their client.

Moreover, the project helped our client move closer to its long-term goal of becoming recognised as the supplier of choice for its clients.


An employee was worried about a competent team member who didn't fit in with the rest of the team and kept to himself during breaks and crew changes. The employee approached the on-site safety coach and asked her to run a team session to help bring the team together. 

After two sessions, the team member began to engage more and express himself, while the rest accepted his differences. He started being more social, offering help to other team members and even sitting with the team during lunch. 

Other departments noticed the positive changes, which would not have been possible without the help of the on-site safety coach. 
~ Head of Department

The safety coach held good training sessions with the crew. Crew bonding is a big part of understanding how each team member works and understands the job. 
~ Offshore Driller.

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