ONSHORE resources sector operators are lagging behind their offshore counterparts in establishing a minimum industry-wide safety standard for contractors, according to Yara Pilbara chief executive Mark Loquan. Addressing CMEWA Health and Safety conference delegates, Mr Loquan called for a united approach to improving onshore contractor safety in WA.

“Currently it’s somewhat fragmented, with individual companies having their own systems and requirements but the industry has a highly mobile workforce,” he said.

Mr Loquan said he supported the introduction of a co-ordinated contractor safety system, similar to that implemented offshore by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), or by Trinidad and Tobago’s petrochemical industry.

A passport system was collaboratively developed in Trinidad and Tobago b several onshore processing companies, along with the country’s Energy Chamber, contractors and industry bodies. Key features included approve certification, training providers and independent testing; agreed minimum safety standards; a gate check passport card linked to a secure database; and safety management system audits for companies conducting high risk activities.

“This will not happen overnight but I think as an industry we need to possibly collaborate more for the long term and to acknowledge the need for minimum
standards,” he said. “In this way, we can get on with working together to put a robust system in place to improve occupational safety for contractors.”

Mr Loquan said Yara Pilbara had been using the WA construction industry white card as a standard, but was discussing with APPEA the possibility of modifying the Common Safety Training Program card – for offshore platforms – and applying it to the company’s WA plants.

Yara Pilbara, WA’s largest ammonia producer, celebrated more than 800 days without a recordable injury for employees or contractors in February 2014.
In March, Queensland’s Mines Safet commissioner issued an alert about the number of contractors killed on Australian mine sites in the previous six
months and called on the industry to look after its workers.
Of the seven mine site fatalities, five were contractors.