Safe Working Essentials

Standardising and simplifying tasks to benefit safety and efficiency.

Safe Working Essentials aims to streamline work processes by making them simpler and more engaging for all, while helping to improve safety. It is a suite of standardised tools that covers control of work elements which are fundamental to reducing the likelihood of accidents at work.

Step Change in Safety’s standardised control of work tools provides a common, single approach to specific tasks, removes unnecessary duplication of systems, and creates consistent and efficient safety processes for use onshore and offshore. This unifying approach to tasks can improve procedures and understanding, while generating savings on training time, inductions, effort and costs.

View the process flow diagram to see how the suite of tools fit into the control of work process, download our quick start guide to Safe Working Essentials, or watch this short explanatory film.


Contact Workgroup

To contact the Safe Working Essentials work group, e-mail

Safe Working Essentials – The Benefits

The Safe Working Essentials control of work tools are currently used at over 90 sites, reducing the number of different systems in use. This simplified and standardised approach to control of work systems has:

  • Streamlined the number of tools being used by different contractors and teams
  • Become part of site inductions
  • Provided a standardised system that contractors and vendors have used on other sites, saving time during site inductions
  • Been praised for having paperwork that is quick and easy to understand
  • Led to lessons being carried forward and not lost
  • Contributed to a safer working environment and better engagement on the subject of safety.

Download our quick start guide to Safe Working Essentials.

Paper Observation Card order form

Boxes of paper observation cards can be ordered using this form

Key elements

The key elements of Safe Working Essentials are simplify, engage and sustain.


Standardise processes across the industry to eradicate confusion and complexity, eliminate repetition, reduce costs, boost sustainability and keep the workforce safe.


By engaging with oil and gas operators and contractors to review systems and processes, a common best of breed approach can be established that improves efficiency and safety.


To maintain effectiveness, operators and contractors are required to adopt the tools within their local control of work processes and share lessons with the industry.

Safe Working Essentials Elements

To enable the effective delivery of the control to work process and the completion of the task, the following seven steps are incorporated into the Safe Working Essentials toolkit.

Work scope

The Safe Working Essentials work group was established after it was identified that approximately 5.3 million man-hours can be released over the course of a year by simply saving an offshore worker one hour in their working day. This can be achieved, in part, by standardising control of work tools across the oil and gas industry.

The intention is for Safe Working Essentials to be adopted widely throughout the UK oil and gas industry, with additional tools introduced wherever they are required.

The tools have been created by the SWE workgroup – oil and gas industry health and safety experts – collaborating with other sectors, such as the emergency services and military.

To align with the global industry, the SWE tools were updated in 2019 to include IOGP’s (International Association of Oil & Gas Producer) life-saving rules.

The workgroup has also created e-obs, an electronic observation card system which improves feedback and communication on safety observations across the industry. e-obs is designed for the workforce and allows both installation operators and contracting companies to see their respective card data. The aim is to use technology to improve safety learnings and make the industry safer.


International Association of Oil & Gas Producers life-saving rules

All the documetnation we use within SWE will include these life-saving rules.


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e-obs online Safety Card tool

e-obs is an electronic observation card system designed for the workforce, enabling users to record safety concerns and examples of good safety practice.


  1. Derek Thomson
    Operations Director
  2. Gary Begg
    Operations HSE Manager

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