This paper reviews present methods and shares best practice in conducting competency assessments, including their verification, for wells personnel involved in safety and environmentally critical operations with a view to improving HSE Performance and Reducing Major Accident Incidents.

The wells personnel included are those identified Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) as the minimum positions involved in safety and environmentally critical operations. This paper includes a review of the OGUK industry Guidelines on competency for wells personnel – Issue 2 (OGUK, 2017), a review of the assessment and verification procedures associated with the UK guidelines "Industry Guidelines for the Management of Competence and Training in Emergency Response for Offshore Installations – Issue 3, (OGUK, 2010) and other industry findings such as the Office of Railways Safety and Standards Board (ORR).

There is a wide variance on which direct and indirect assessment methods are used for different onshore and offshore positions. The paper draws conclusions on which methods work best for given positions, how assessors are trained to carry out assessments, the validity of using independent assessors and the benefits of standardizing certain elements of assessment.

A conclusion on the role that professional institutions, including the SPE, may play in the overall assessment of competence is examined. The wide variance of verification methods is reported on and recommendations made on their suitability. The potential for standardization of certain elements of the assessment and verification process will lead to savings, improved utilization of personnel and quality of assessments. Ensuring that assessments are of a common and consistent high standard will improve overall Health, Safety and Environmental performance and help reduce major accidents.

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