Safe Working Essentials

Standardising and simplifying tasks to benefit safety and efficiency.

Safe Working Essentials aims to streamline work processes to unify them and make them simpler, more engaging and sustainable for all, while helping to improve safety. It is a suite of tools that covers the 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 used at over 90 sites. At these sites the number of different systems in use has reduced. 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.


International Association of Oil & Gas Producers life-saving rules

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

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 toolset.

Work scope

Safe Working Essentials sets out to standardise and simplify common work processes, while making them more engaging for the users and helping to improve safety. It supports the Step Change in Safety ethos of sharing and learning.

The work group facilitates collaboration in the oil and gas industry and has received input from other sectors, such as the emergency services and military. This allows the knowledge and experience that has been accrued over decades to be brought together to create the best possible streamlined processes and systems.

To align with the global industry in which the UK oil and gas industry works, the Safe Working Essentials control of work tools were updated in 2019 to synchronise them with the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers’ life-saving rules. All Safe Working Essentials documentation will now include these guidelines.

In 2019, E-OBS, an online observation card, was introduced to improve 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.

Safe Working Essentials background

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.

Developed as a result of conversations with the offshore workforce to gather their views and ideas about safety, Safe Working Essentials is a suite of tools designed to improve and sustain performance. Those tools have standardised and simplified the common control of work elements that are fundamental to reducing the likelihood of accidents at work.

This unified approach, across multiple work sites, to toolbox talks, dynamic risk assessments and safety observation cards saves time during inductions, improves workforce learning and contributes to a safer work environment.

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


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e-obs online Safety Card tool

In November 2019, e-obs - an online observation card - was introduced to improve feedback and communication on safety observations across the industry.


  1. Derek Thomson

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