The Oil and Gas sector strives for a zero incident environment. The UK Health and Safety Executive noted in its latest Offshore Injury Report that safety incidents offshore have been decreasing steadily year by year but appear to have reached a plateau. This is a common industry trend and it is generally accepted that a significant number of serious incidents are directly related to human behaviors rather than a lack of control or processes.

In a high risk environment such as Oil & Gas sites, onshore or offshore, it is imperative to have a healthy workforce - both physically and mentally - and there is a link between employee wellbeing, stress, overall performance and safety attitudes. However, many segments of the Oil and Gas industry require employees to leave home and family for extended periods of time and this can have a significant impact on an employee's psychological wellbeing. This paper's aim is to inform individuals and organizations so they can better understand the effects of the experience of being away and increase the chances of maintaining their employees' psychological wellbeing.

A five-phase model has been developed in consultation with academics, trade unions, expert insight from oil and gas, military and education sector perspectives. This model offers a new and practical way to think about and manage potential adverse impacts on psychological wellbeing while away in order to reduce risk. The paper will expand on each phase from pre-departure planning, expanding through the time away, to being back at home.

This model can be applied to individuals who spend short or long periods of time away under different circumstances. Its application should help to minimize fluctuations from their psychological wellbeing set point, and improve job and safety performance while at work. Specific examples of how the model can be implemented in a variety of situations are included and the benefits that can be expected from a well-managed workforce using these techniques are documented.

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