The commitment of Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) to "provide resources to respond to oil spills efficiently and effectively on a global basis" to the industry is principally founded on the health, safety and well being of personnel; fundamental to the business is the effective management of health and safety risks.

When oil spills occur, responders are often expected to work in challenging environments which present serious health and safety risks; examples include, but are not limited to, extremes of temperature, wind and humidity; a concern is personnel working in hot weather conditions. To this end, a safe system of work, aligned to industry good practice, was established. The safe system of work for operating in hot weather consolidates and strengthens existing processes in the OSRL risk management framework; it leverages on familiar tools and utilises ‘Heat Risk Categories’ derived from ‘WetBulb Globe Temperatures (WBGT)’.

Key to the effort are written procedures which calibrate and standardise measures to prevent and manage heat injuries, applied to the following: 1) Planning; 2) Response; and 3) Demobilisation phases in any oil spill clean up. The procedures were validated over a succession of field deployment exercises conducted in Bahrain during summer, between 2016 and 2018

This paper will discuss the risk management approach by OSRL - focus is placed on the practitioner's perspective to ensure service delivery in hot weather conditions. The attention given to heat injuries, justified by instrument-measured indicators grounded in research, represents a step improvement to ensure the health and safety of responders.

From a practical perspective, the following considerations are brought to the fore, starting from the planning phase:

  • Adjustment of work load, clothing and PPE, commensurate with the heat risk

  • Allocation of sufficient and appropriate resources to implement recommended work/rest cycles

  • Capture of data for reporting and future reference (and further study)

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