The objective of the paper is to introduce the integrated safety and technical competency training provided to new staff in Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL). Oil spill response is not only associated with generic operational risks, but also special risks due to the emergency nature of the tasks. New employees in such response organisations, depending on their years of experience and the area of previous work, have broadly varied ability in safety management. The significant number of responders recruited after the Macondo incident leads to a notable dilution of safety skill and technical skill in the company. This paper demonstrates how OSRL addressed this issue by using a matrix training model.

The aim of running this model is to train people into competent spill response specialists with well-built safety skills. All the new recruits are put through the training the first year after they join the organisation. The model is divided into three stages: induction and initial training, Offline Training program, and Approved Competence Management System (ACMS) appraisal. In each stage, safety training is incorporated at three levels. They are general technical level, specific module level, and assessment level. At the general technical level, candidates receive technical training where safety aspects are added in as an important ingredient. At the specific module level, they attend training which focuses on safety topics. At the assessment level, candidates expect exams or assessment where they are formally tested how they handle safety issues. The training forms a learning curve from awareness to performance to competence. Following this model, new responders are able to perform the role of spill response specialist in a safe manner and understand the knowledge behind it.

The training model adopted by OSRL provides a comprehensive, solid, and practical approach to address the diluted safety skill issue. It has been successfully implemented and received positive feedbacks. The model structure is applicable to similar organisations, while the concept of matrix training models is applicable to a much wider area. It sets Best Management Practice (BMP) for further implementations in the industry.

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