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Topic 26: The dangers associated with young and inexperienced workers in the workplace

WilliamBradford's picture

This sort of branched off from the discussion topic "The
constant struggle between HSE legislation and human stupidity".

The high risk environments of the Oil and Gas industry can make for
a pretty unforgiving workplace for the inexperienced worker, with the
possibility for small mistakes to multiply into huge, and disastrous,
consequences. I’ve had ‘interesting’ experiences working alongside young
apprentices, showing recklessness, or a lack of interest in personal safety, or
perhaps just ignorance. Naturally, the environments available to new starts
should and, generally, are restricted to low risk environments until a time
where they have gained enough trust to be allowed to operate in the higher risk

What dangers can you think of related to new starts? How could we mitigate
them effectively? Do you have any ‘interesting’ experiences working with the


Andrew Allan's picture

You raise a good point, with the oil and gas industry in the UK booming with many new large capaital projects coupled with increased focus on platfrom life extension there is an increased requirement for people, which inevitably means an influx of young people with no prior experience into the industry.  Robust systems must be in place to ensure the competence of these people and to ensure that they are introduced to their relative tasks in a structured manner  so as to minimise the risk of human error due to lack of knowledge/understanding of the risks.

One initiative that has been used offshore for a number of years is the use of green hard hats or armbands to idenitfy personnel who are new to a platform (or have not attended the faciltiy for over 6 months). In idenitfying these people to the broader community on a platfrom it allows people to identify that they may not be familiar with the layout of the facility, the operation of the platform equipment and the processes and procedures implemented on the platfrom. 

A thorough safety induction onto the platfrom by the OIM and HSE advisor includes both one to one discussion and tours of the facility where key hazards are pointed out to the new personnel.  This heightens the risk awarenesss of the new personnel and makes them aware of some key hazards whilst out on the platform.

Measures such as these coupled with robust training and certification onshore prior to beginning work contributes to the assurance that people, young and old, will understand the risks involved and take necessary precautions prior to performing a task.

WilliamBradford's picture

The green hats are a good idea, where I work, people just get thrown in with no distinguishing marks (apart from the occasional 'deer in headlights' look).

Bassey Kufre Peter's picture

responding to the important point you have raised concerning ways of mitigating
the dangers associated with new starts. I will say that critical roles should
not be assigned to inexperience graduates rather every company should have an effective
structured industry oriented graduate programme that cut across the various
department of the company. During the programme the inexperience workers will
be exposed to Safety standards, regulations and guidelines on how various work is
performed. Hence, with the exposure during the graduate programme, we will certainly
produce a new generation of industry giants that will take over when the
experience once retires, thereby mitigating the dangers associated with new start.

 Bassey, Kufre Peter
M.Sc-Subsea Engineering-2012/2013
University of Aberdeen.

Mark Nicol's picture

Apprentices due to their age, typically 16, in year 1,  have just finished secondary school. If they have had no part-time job during school, they will probably have had no work experience.

It is imperative for companies who employ apprentices to conduct thorough inductions to the potential risks and hazards that they will be exposed to in the workplace.

There are a few options to reduce the risk to inexperienced employees:

1.      Inductions as mentioned above, which will give them an insight into the industry and usually some pretty graphic images of accidents. This helps to make them realise the potential consequences of inappropriate behaviour in the workplace. 

2.      Training courses: all new recruits should have had the proper training for the equipment or machinery they will be expected to uses and the relevant safety courses that apply. 

3.   Some might disagree, but I think the most important thing for new young employees is to have guidance from their superiors. The more experienced employees should be passing on their experience and knowledge to the apprentices, which helps them to acclimatise to the workplace more quickly.  

WilliamBradford's picture

I absolutely agree, especially about the passing on of experience from superiors. I remember beginning a job working with someone who had little time for new starts, that was a nightmare. Luckily, it wasn't long before I got put to work with someone who had a much more beneficial view. Experienced employees who have time for the inexperienced are a great asset and are such a good mine of information, they're full of advice which might be unobtainable from other sources apart from first-hand bad experiences, with possible serious consequences. Also, I've seen my fair share of injury images, and they certainly did the trick for me.

Toby Stephen's picture

Interesting point of discussion William and good points made by both Andrew and Mark. The rising global labour shortage (which I've read will increase substantially when the baby boomers retire) means that technical expertise is as sought after now as ever before. The problem, however, is that this 'technical expertise' is often simply regarded as a university degree and a few months work experience in the industry.

Inductions and training courses can only resonate so far, but it comes down to the individual to actually embrace the work safety concepts that come out of these courses and apply them on a day-to-day basis, whether in the workplace or not. Mark's third point is also an interesting topic of conversation - while I certainly agree with and think it's an absolute necessity that superiors instill a sense of workplace safety into new industry members, the superior(s) would have to be carefully selected and verified by HSSE to ensure that everything that they say/pass on to the inexperienced member is in fact valid from a HSSE perspective. Unless strictly monitored this could become somewhat like Chinese Whispers whereby different people's interpretations of 'safety' can vary.  


Toby Stephen MSc Oil & Gas Engineering

WilliamBradford's picture

I agree with the point you're hinting at (at least, I think you're hinting at it) where technical expertise is mistaken for an ability to pass exams. In my experience, degrees and technical expertise are usually pretty far apart.

Oluwatosin A. Oyebade's picture

William, Andrew, and Toby made good points, with which I agree. In a lot of ways, Oil and Gas differs from other industries, in that experience is so much more sought after than academic qualifications. A single mistake on an oil rig can cause untold losses to human lives, the company's finances, the environment etc.

No matter how much experience a man/woman has garnered, everybody still initially starts as a green hand, completely fresh and new to the business, although not necessarily "young". Considering the highly volatile and high risk oil and gas facilities, it can be said that an inexperienced worker poses a risk not only to work place and his colleagues, but also to himself. Therefore, it should be considered the responsibility of every experienced personnel (not only safety officials) on the platform to ensure that the newbies strictly abide by all safety rules and regulations. In such cases, the green hardhats/armbands (as mentioned by Andrew) are of great importance, as they create an obvious distinction between the experienced and the amateurs, ensuring proper mentoring and observation are in place.

Although the saying goes "Experience is the best teacher", I believe we can all firmly agree that this is a very risky venture in the oil and gas industry, as learning from the experience can be irreparably costly, with no victors living to tell the story.

Oluwatosin Oyebade

Msc Oil and Gas Engineering

ikenna_ekekwe's picture

Thank you very much Andrew, I couldnt have put it in a better way. However, I would like to add that the inherent risk with inexperienced workers is not the same across all fields in the Oil and Gas Industry.Looking at the wider picture, besides the Operations stage (which you have exhaustively described in your post), there is also the Engineering Design, Procurement, Fabrication/Construction and Installation stage.I come from an Engineering Design background and I can safely say that there is almost NO danger associated with young and inexperienced staff in the workplace. The reason is because there are so many industry approved QA/QC processes through which Designs pass through before they get Issued/Approved for Construction.

Ekekwe Ikenna

Mark Nicol's picture

Yes your correct from an engineering design perspective, there are
no dangers in the workplace. This is because engineering design work is office
based. In the office I work in its HSE policy to hold the handrail going up and
down the stairs. Apart from falling down the stairs you’re pretty much safe.


As you stated there are other stages. I think we can safely say
that the lost time incident rate from procurement should be minimalistic.


correct that engineering design has processes of approval: IDC (internal discipline
check), IFC (issued for comment) and AFC (approved for construction) but I must
ask does this have any bearing on the safety of young people entering into fabrication
or installation?

Andrew Strachan's picture

In repsonse to Ekekwe's post which described a design process which is impervious to human error, I would argue that this process like any other where humans are part of the decision chain, is susceptible to errors, and that human error is more likely in less exerienced personel than engineers who have been working in the industry for thirty years.

In my opinion competent engineers and technical staff can and do reduce safety risk across the oil and gas industry, and that significant dilution of this experience base may have a negative impact on the safety of the plant/tools/systems which are being manufactured or operated. I agree that a design process should be rigourous such that the mistake of one individual should be identified prior to manufacture or installation. However it follows that if you are relying on an experienced engineer to approve a drawing or work procedure and there are less and less suitably qualified engineers to do that job then the repsonsibility for approval will fall on younger less experienced shoulders. Engineering is not an exact science and often decisions are based on sound engineering judgement, this is gained, in part, from exposure to the industry and experience doing the job. Many major accidents are caused by an accumulation of things going wrong and whilst bad design is not always a primary cause it is often lurking in the background.


Andrew Strachan
MSc Subsea Engineering

ikenna_ekekwe's picture

Very true Andrew, very true. Yes, it logically follows that if you are relying on an experienced engineer to approve a drawing or work procedure (which is the industry norm) and there are less and less suitably qualified engineers to do that job (which is the reality on ground now) then the responsibility for approval will fall on younger less experienced shoulders.

But Andrew, I have one question for you. If you are a major stakeholder in a project where you have put in billions of dollars, would you leave the responsibility for approval on the shoulder of a less experienced engineer? I do not think you would.

Ekekwe Ikenna

adavis's picture

I'm confused.  In your first post, you say "I can safely say that there is almost NO danger associated with young and inexperienced staff in the workplace".  However in your second post, you imply that you wouldn't give the responsibility for approval to a junior engineer.  I can only assume that your claim about there being no danger is based on the presumption that a more seasoned engineer is reviewing, mentoring, and approving the junior engineers work.  If that's correct, I agree with you.  However, I would point out that not all organizations have mature processes and the amount of upper level experience within the industry is quickly disappearing. In many cases, an inexperienced engineer can be a much greater threat to others than an inexperienced roughneck.

ikenna_ekekwe's picture

Sorry if I sounded confusing, but there is no need to be confused. Let me explain myself better.

"There is almost NO danger associated with young and inexperienced staff in the workplace" and "you wouldnt give the responsibility for approval to a junior engineer" are TWO MUTUALLY INCLUSIVE SENTENCES. It actually should read - "There is almost no danger associated with young and inexperienced staff in the workplace BECAUSE they dont have the resposibility to approve any design, construction, installation and operation". This is NOT a presumption. It really is the basic SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for Engineering - which I have already outlined in an earlier post.

You also pointed out that not all organisations have mature processes. I agree with you. However, I do not agree that this can be a valid excuse or reason because it is for this reason that we have regulatory bodies. It is also for this reason that major players in the industry who want to subcontract elements of their project and operations to "not-yet-mature companies" carry out pesonnel and procedure audits.

I can reliably assure you that this risk is just perceived and not real.


Ikenna Ekekwe

Kobina Gyan Budu's picture

Quiet an interesting discussion here. You are all raising very valid points that I tend to agree
with. However, I will say “yes” and “no” to the topic.
Yes because of all the points you have raised; not familiar with the work environment,
inexperience, lack of knowledge/understanding about the safety risks etc. The mitigating
approach to these is having in place robust safety induction programmes to instil the safety
discipline into the young apprentice before being introduced to the high risk activities/areas.
The safety and reliability programme we are studying now in school as part of the master’s degree
is the beginning of the training for the inexperienced professionals.

No because of one other view point we have not looked at. One can say that some of the industrial
accidents have been due to complacency on the part of the experienced. Often because they have been
on the job for such a long time and know almost all the nitty-gritties, they tend to do things
without the required procedure. An example is the Piper Alpha accident, in which firewalls that
were designed for oil operations was left unmodified even when the platform started to manage gas.
A young and inexperienced but well trained engineer would have been so careful to follow the normal
“Change Management Procedures” to cause a modification. The experienced engineers overlooked it
until the accident happened.

The human attitudes of some of the experienced professionals are more unsafe than those of the

adavis's picture

Excellent point.  Someone new to a process brings a new point of view.  Junior engineers, technicians, designers, etc. will often question issues that others take for granted.  I recall an incident when I was a junior engineer questioning a senior engineer (my boss) about the permeation of methanol through a hose.  I was concerned that the methanol would build up and eventually collapse the hose.  I was assured that wouldn't happen.  The methanol would simply evaporate.  Unfortunately, I didn't argue or ask him to prove it and the permeation did turn out to be an issue.

I guess the take away is that junior engineers need to feel comfortable questioning their superiors and senior engineers need to foster that two way communication.

William J. Wilson's picture

A point well raised by Adavis.  Good communication between senior and junior engineers is key to a safe working environment.  However, I have often seen junior engineers placed in positions were they have taken the advice from seniors, who were deemed to have more experience and knowledge, which in hindsight was wrong.  Sometimes a bad decision is just a bad decision and mistakes are all part of being human.  However, mitigating the risk associated with junior and inexperienced staff can be obtained by reinforcing a safe and “knowledge seeking” culture within senior engineering management.  For example; if a junior engineer had concerns and questioned the methodology or technology used in a particular scenario the more senior engineer should seek to have a conclusive response with reason which is explained in detail with the junior and vice versa the junior engineer should be encouraged to have the confidence to debate any unknowns (within reason...being malcontent will not benefit anyone!). Again its all about good effective communication.
William Wilson
MSc Subsea Engineering (DL)

Mark Haley's picture

Spot on!

You are absolutely right, without the fresh ideas of young people entering the system the mentality can be ‘we have always done it this way so why change!'.
My experience has been that it is the new young employees that bring a fresh perspective to problems and often come up with a better way of operating.

I had a recent experience where we had been using a very specific set of parameters to carry out a particular procedure. This procedure had been done the same way for the last 15 years by hundreds of experienced personnel using these set parameters. However, a new young employee read the manual and pointed out that we had been using the wrong figures for 15 years. Because the older more experienced operators had said use these figures and this is how it is done everyone had assumed they were right.
Needless to say we were all very surprised, and it goes to prove that just because the old man who has been there for over 20 years says so, it does not mean he is right.
Don't get me wrong, I do agree with many of the comments above about having experienced people in the system to mentor and supervise the new guys, but I believe a good balance between new and old is essential for any workplace.

Mark Haley


A quick glance at this topic sparked a disapproval in my thoughts. But a closer look at William Bradford's opening comment puts the topic in better perspective.

It could be acceptable depending in what context you mean. I would think young employees should be seperated from inexperienced onces.

If the context refers to young juveniles with few numerical years and immaturity, it would be acceptable to dicuss the dangers of their participation in the industry.

Going further, if reference is to inexperienced employees the issues should be distilled in a wider scope firstly analysing the contribution of the organization to training efforts.

Finally, to William I feel recklessness and non attention to personal safety is more tied the person than the amount of experience. After all its perceieved easier to get carefree and pay less attention to details when experience is built in any process with production inclusive.





WilliamBradford's picture

I absolutely agree with you. My point is about young workers and inexperienced workers. In hindsight, I probably should have made the title 'OR' instead of 'AND', for clarity.


Or, I suppose, (young + inexperienced)*workers might have worked. :P


Bearing in mind the most experienced employees were carved and forged out of total novices as literacy from stack illiteracy, there should be more thoughts around the role of the industry operators at averting the perceived danger of young and inexperienced employees.There is the need for a robust succession plan and transfer of knowledge in the industry, failing which a gap in availability of the work force to drive the industry would arise.This strategy as seen in some organizations ensures adequate training of fresh employees before getting hands on the job. This usually involves enough effort to get such employees thoroughly immersed in the delicate nature of operations within the industry. When properly done the consciousness of the need for safety and carefulness is thoroughly instilled.This ideal manner of staff development and continual training creates the thought of the younger the better. This is because the younger employee has a longer life cycle to invest in training and consequently a longer availability to the industry.Finally, similar as processes are in the industry, organizations have their specialized way of engaging their business and which should be sufficiently handed to the new employees. This would avert the perceived risks posed by young and inexperienced employees who have to start building experience somewhere! ASOKHIA BENJAMIN M.SUBSEA ENGINEERING

ikenna_ekekwe's picture

Mark, this has a very big impact on the safety of young people entering into fabrication
and installation. This is why the responsibility for progressing designs
through the different approval stages falls on ONLY the shoulders of Lead
Discipline Engineers with over 20 years of design and construction experience.

For a typical design
deliverable (e.g. an Isometric Drawing with Bill of Materials), the deliverable
is initiated by the Lead and handed over to the Junior engineer who then
completes it and hands it over to the senior engineer for minor checks
(discipline check - DC). This deliverable is then taken through all the other
disciplines for more checks (inter discipline check - IDC) and then comes back
with comments which are incorporated and sent to the client for review (issued
for review - IFR). The client looks at it, makes comments and sends it back to
the design contractor who then re-issues the deliverable for construction
(issued for construction - IFC). From this stage, the fabrication contractor
picks the IFC design and prepares his shop fabrication drawings, while the
installation contractor prepares his construction work pack as per scope of

Now you can see that a wrong
(unsafe) design would lead to an unsafe fabrication which in turn would lead to
an unsafe installation.


Ekekwe Ikenna

Ekaterina Pavlichenko's picture

Hi Ekekwe, not wishing to be pedantic, but, ‘the junior engineer completes it and then hands it over to the senior engineer for minor checks’; let’s hope the junior engineer isn’t too junior then – Joking!

But every company has its own procedures and standards and although I know you’re only being indicative in your very brief summary of a typical design process and procedure, for me I’d hope that there would be an internal design review before the design was handed to the client! This is the area in which senior engineers will have the opportunity to assess the full scope of work completed and would be a valuable on-the-job training session for those less experienced.

I agree with your statement that an unsafe design could lead to an unsafe fabrication, resulting in an unsafe installation!  

michael saiki's picture

As much i would like to say that the topic appears quite elaborate but a closer look make us rethink properly because it is a fusion of a delicate and sensitive part of the safety challenges we have tried to decipher from earlier on in this debate. but lets analyze the phrase in bits

Young workers- who are young workers, how do you define young, what are the age brackets? There are 25 year old who have 5 years experience and 35 year old with just 2 years experience

Inexperienced workers- How do you define inexperience? never done the job, done it only once, twice or a few years

Dangers-potential of causing harm; how do you estimate the likelihood of a worker causing harm; by the level of knowledge, by experience on the job, by personal volitions, drug influence, fatigue, loss of memory or illnes.

Now I dont think any company would employ anyone who they think cannot do a particular job to do it. I think it boils down more to individual tendencies and attitude. The piper Alpha Incident had all experienced personnel in place, the Maccond(deep water horizon) had all experienced personnel involved but in the end it all boils down to decision making and individual attitudes

Michael Saiki

ikenna_ekekwe's picture

Yeah Mike. I understand your questions. But it is wrong to say a company will not employ anyone who they think can't do a particular job because this where Graduate Trainees come into play. Your citation of the Piper Alpha and Macondo incidents help to elaborate the dangers of poor decision making and attitudes, but they do not highlight the dangers of young inexperienced workers.

Looking at the facility operations in any organisation, it would be ridiculous to suggest that a young and inexperienced individual can be legally assigned to a critical task that could influence the safety of personnel and the facility. It just will not happen. Assuming critical roles in any facility takes time and years on the job from trainee to operator to supervisor.

Ekekwe Ikenna

Andrew Strachan's picture

It seems to me that yes, bad decision making can result in major accidents occurring, but a large factor in bad decision making is not having the correct level of skills, training or on the job experience.
Quoting the Health and Safety Executive, 2011, Human Factors/Ergonomics - Training and Competence Available at

"Competence can be defined as the ability to undertake responsibilities and perform activities to a recognised standard on a regular basis. It is a combination of skills, experience and knowledge. The inadequate management of competence is often a contributory factor associated with major accidents in the offshore process industries."

Based on this definition it is not necessary to define a number of years of experience - only to define the competency required to carry out the job/task, and criteria on which to judge if this competency has been achieved for a given employee to safely carry out his or her job. This will vary widely depending on the job at hand.
Having inexperienced personnel operating in a hazardous environment does not necessarily significantly increasing risk, provided there is sufficient supervision and the provision that there are still experienced personnel available to assist with the tasks at hand, in fact it is obviously necessary in order for employees to gain experience and increase their competencies.
However, if for example 50% of the offshore workforce is due to retire in the next 5 years (made up statistic) then this will place a large strain on the remaining 50% of workers to do their current job, supervise inexperienced personnel, and also pick up the inevitable slack caused by having new inexperienced employees on the job. The effect on safety will be twofold - (i) increased chance of injury or fatality due to incompetence/lack of supervision and (ii) increased chance of major accident due to increased backlog in inspection and maintenance of safety critical systems. This backlog will result from lack of resource in competent personnel.

Andrew Strachan
MSc Subsea Engineering

WilliamBradford's picture

I don't mean to cause offence, but I believe that the source of the complexity you refer to is overthinking on your part. You're linking age and experience (which is mostly my fault due to lack of clarity), causing confusion. I'd class a young worker as someone in their teens and very early twenties (mostly due to my experience which indicates that this age group are generally less mature). And, separately, I'd class someone as inexperienced if there was (or they had) a lack of well founded confidence in their abilities in certain situations.

Ambrose Ssentongo's picture

Young inexperienced workers have their place on the work site. In fact
they bring with them fresh/unbiased minds/beliefs that are relatively easier to
change with training and get aligned with the company’s objectives. I find interestingly
that workers should rather always have a high risk perception(anticipate high
potential of accidents occurring during their work) as this will likely lead to
more vigilance while carrying out the particular operation; the contrary group
will likely be over confident and ignore a number of safety procedures to catch
up with higher production, however this is up for a lot of research as there’re
many factors to be considered in risk perception. All in all, it is the
effectiveness of the training programs in place that’ll determine whether the
inexperienced worker’s a threat or asset to safety on site. How involving the
training is (so that the worker is actually part of projects and has
responsibilities attached to his position, and making him answerable for his
actions) and the evaluation his progress (therefore evaluation of the
effectiveness of the training) - this can be established from his actual
performance on the various responsibilities he’s been given. From this, it can
be established what needs to be improved or added to his knowledge and
capabilities, importantly his safety culture. Some training programs simply have the participant sit through company
technical meetings and follow his immediate supervisor everywhere they go and not actually feeling accountbale for actions.

In conclusion, it is important to help the inexperienced worker
sharpen his situation awareness and risk perception skills, so he’s always
cautious of the hazards around him and potential risks associated with each of
them and then be aware of what his responses should be.


Risk perception by offshore workers on UK Oil and Gas platforms by
Rhona Flin, Kathryn Mearns, Rachael Gordon, Mark Fleming

Risk perception and communication by Baruch Fischhoff  


Well,this is an interesting debate.I will agree with Ambrose.Lets not only look at the young blood as a risk at workplace because young employees are the experts ofr the future.Every company needs to have a proper succession plan in place and this is very crucial when it comes to risk management at work place.All that needs to be done is investing in training young proffessionals to aquint them with the vital skills.I beleive young employees bring new ideas to the organisations even though they may not be experienced and that is what we call value addition. An experienced  Safety Engineer may be doing things in the same old  way whereas a young proffesional may suggest new ways of handling risk related cases.You will also agree with me that most of the accidents that have occured in the past have been mainly due to human factors and i do not think that these errors originated from young inexperienced workers.In my own view,even if age and experience are  key  but it is not the major cause of accidents  but  rather human is possible to find a young inexperienced proffessional  who is very keen on following forexample safety procedures in place yet an experienced worker may not necessarily take them serious.A good example of offshore accidents such as  the Alexander L.Kielland accident,Gulf of Mexico Lill Hurricane have been due to errors and omissions during design and lack of inspections and i beleive young proffesionals have the energy to do all this. In conclusion,the dangers associated with employing young inexperienced workers at workplace can be mitigated through proper training programs.


 John Bosco Aliganyira

Msc.Oil and Gas Engineering

Richard Sedafor's picture


Do the current structure of major companies even allow young inexperienced workers to pose any danger to the company or workplace ? The answer is quite obvious. No company or organization will allow a fresh graduate or inexperienced personnel to manage or man a decision making post or critical position in the company. It is normal to find that almost all companies make their young professional go through a graduate training programs. This could take about 2 to 3 years. Within those years the graduate is under close supervision and mentorship. Because of this, they pose little danger to the workplace since no assignment would be done by them without the prior permission of a senior officer. Indeed what we discover is that major accidents have occured due to omissions and negligenceof workers and its not necessarily the function of age and experience.

Take the 125 milliion USD Mars Climate Orbiter project by NASA for example that was destroyed nine and half months after launch when it attempted to gather data about Mars surface profile,detect surface ice reservoirs etc .The report submited by the investigation board after the destruction of that huge investment indicated that "The 'root cause' of the loss of the spacecraft was the
failed translation of English units into metric units in a segment
of ground-based, navigation-related mission software" The operations of the programme was totally manned by Scientist and Engineers of great experience and academic pedigree not young inexperienced professionals.

 Young inexperienced workers may make mistakes on the job but those mistakes are normally on a small scale because they are under supervision but greater dangers are caused by factors such as attitude and negligence which is not necessarily a function of age and experience.


Mars Climate Orbiter, Mishap investigation Board Phase I report, November 10,1999

Kyle McFarlane's picture

I have worked on a variety of different construction projects in different roles. I worked as a student civil engineer on housing and leisure projects while I was still sitting my undergraduate programme of civil engineering. I never found my lack of site experience to endanger myself or others. Infact I beleive the oppisite was true. In order to work on these sites I had to first achieve my CSCS card which provided an overview of the expected hazards and risks the sites I would be working on may harbour. Then before starting work on site I underwent an extensive induction to ensure I was made aware of all of the particualr risks and safety measures in place on that particular site.

For example where there was still live cables and where the muster points where in the event of a fire or other emergency.

Similarly I worked as a labourer in Longannet Power station before starting my masters and the extensive health and safety measures employed in this hazourdous enviroment is the very reason I chose to do my MSC in safety and reliability engineering. As a new comer to the site and following my induction I was assinged a squad in which I was to work. I was responsible for writing out the risk assessments for the squad, as every new comer is, which was then inspected by the more experienced memebers to ensure I had not missed anything. This health and safety culture ensures the wealth of experience and knowledge that others have is passed on and that the risks that some new inexperienced workers can pose are mitigated effectively while educating them.

Before leaving Longannet I myself was found checking the risk assessment of a new worker and advising him on the specifics that made my transition from inexperienced to experienced more practical.


I am aware that my examples only apply to certain companies but it does show it is possible to mitigate the dangers new workers can pose

Your experiences show that as an inexperience worker certain
procedures where put in place to account for this.

You’re work as a student civil engineer was supervise due to
the risk in which your decisions as inexperienced worker pose in terms of
safety, cost and time. Therefore the management as identified yourself as a potential

In terms of feeling safe this an perception or a personal
view which might not reflect the views of others with a greater understanding
of the dangers.

Your CSCS card and site induction are legal requirements to
be allowed to work. These show you have awareness of hazards onsite but do not
provide practical skills or experience of working in hazardous environment. 

James Parry
MSc Subsea Engineering

Elvis.E.Osung's picture

Williams, i understand your point of consideration but making a blanket statement as such is not entirely correct. You seem to be expressing bias against young and inexperienced people in the work place. The young people in an organisation are the most active workforce, the onus lies on the experienced ones to train the young ones; hence organisations have mentoring programmes as a means of bridging the knowledge gap. A standard organisation will obviously have induction processes, of which HSE induction is usually top priority in such trainings. As a further safety measure, standard operating procedures and job hazard analysis should be carried out for operations with inherent risks. The safety culture of an individual (experienced or not) to a large extent depends on the safety culture of the organisation. The responsibility lies with the organisation to set the safety standard expected of their staffs (young and old, experienced or inexperienced)

WilliamBradford's picture

There's nothing biased about it, it's a discussion point and, if you read carefully, I haven't made any blanket statements. I've merely stated that the environment can be unforgiving, which it can be to anyone, regardless of the amount of experience they have, however, after gaining experience, the situations become easier to handle. If you have no experience in a given situation, it's highly likely that you won't perform in a manner similar to someone that has a lot of experience, that's simple reasoning and logic. In fact, my only real mention of young and inexperienced people is when I mention experiences I have had whilst working with young and inexperienced people, which displays my experiences, not biases. I once had a new worker start hammering a crowbar under the lid of a small box I was handling, he certainly earned himself some bias and wariness there.

Also, I don't agree that the young people in an organisation are the most active workforce. From my experiences, young people have a lot of training to undertake and, quite often, this takes them away from work that needs to be done. Not to mention some of the laziness I've encountered in the younger workers (Ok, that was maybe a little biased).

Kobina Gyan Budu's picture

William has raised two interesting points here. “I once had a new worker start hammering a crowbar under the lid of a small box
I was handling, he certainly earned himself some bias and wariness there
”. This appears to suggest that the new and inexperienced
person did not have the ability (knowledge) to perform that activity. That actually will underscore the importance of a rigorous
HSE/EHS induction programme and proper in-house training before assigning sensitive tasks to the inexperienced. If this is well
managed, the enthusiastic inexperienced tends to do better than some demotivated or complacent experienced people.
Again, about “the young people in an organisation being the most active workforce”, this will be true to some extent. The serious
young people who have not worked before often come with some initial zeal to make a mark. The onus is on the organisations as
Elvis said, to channel this positive force in the right direction by giving them the requisite training before putting them on the
job. For safety minded organisations, training is considered part of the job schedules so they are not worried about training
taking the inexperienced away from work that needs to be done”. In fact some of the accidents could be due to the fact that the
experienced people are impatience to wait for the freshers to complete training before putting them on the job, in the interest
of production. Sometimes when they have succeeded in assigning jobs to the inexperienced without the proper training, the experienced
are again impatient in carefully guiding them through the work.

The inexperienced and the experienced are both key in achieving organisational goals. The missing link sometimes is the lack of
adequate training required to bridge the gap to achieve the overall efficiency.

Isn't it partly companies responsibility to provide necessary training and orientation for young and inexperienced professionals. Afterall, nobody is born with all the skills and experience/knowledge required to become a productive member of the company. Also, with some mentorship, people learn all the required skills necessary for the task in hand, and to create a safe working environment.

 And why to point only on young engineers. A project is completed under the supervison of more experienced person, who has worked in the field for many many years. So if any disaster happens, it is the superior who has to be blamed first and to be held responsible for the mistake. The superior's duity is to look after everything that is being done by his/her subordinates. Even if the superiors has found the young engineer suitable for the required task, he/she can not blindly trust everything without going through QA.

I am not trying to offend anyone here or justify young engineer's ignorance or lack of knowledge. Being a very young engineer, I am just expressing my point of view towards general practice. At the end, I am going to learn from those experienced ones. But a little guidance would definately be a leap forward.


The world started with 0, is progressing with 0, but doesn't want 0.

WilliamBradford's picture

It certainly is a responsibility of the company to provide the training required and you have an excellent point, however, it's the time whilst building the experience that I'm mostly referring to here. Consider, for example, someone who has just passed their driving test, I'm sure you'll agree that the chances of the new driver being involved in a traffic accident are higher than that of an experienced driver. I'm not saying that the new driver is incompetent, as he/she has just proved themselves competent by passing their driving test, but the fact remains, that the less experience an individual has, the greater the risk of accidents. I hope you didn't feel I was trying to pin the blame on any one group of people, I'm merely stating that with less experienced workers, there is a certain risk involved.

Also, you make a good point about QA. However, be aware, QA personel are also not infallible, and mistakes can be made in both areas.

And, you're right about leaning from the experienced, there's a lot to be learned there. Good luck.

WilliamBradford's picture

Come to think of it, a better example would be driving in snow for the first time, and not being familiar with the slippery conditions, compared with someone who regularly drives in snow. While being familiar with an activity (i.e. driving, in this case), inexperience can cause a higher risk when the situation or environment changes (i.e. the addition of snow and slippery conditions)

Richard Milne's picture

I would agree with the initial point that the more inexperienced (and generally the younger) someone is, the more likely they are to be a hazard in the work place (or certainly offshore). In my current job, I have had the opportunity to go Offshore for the first time. I had been through my survival training, through all of the HSE courses and was given a vessel induction when I arrived. However, a moving vessel is very different from the office in which I normally work!

I was fortunate enough to be offshore during a clam period in the North Sea and therefore did not have to contend too much with motions of the vessel, however, you still have to get used to some movement in your floorboards.

You also have to get used to a much different way of looking out for your own safety - and I feel this is the part that could make the inexperienced a danger. Usually, while walking around the office, or down the street, people are usually looking either straight ahead, or down at the ground for any trip hazards. On a vessel deck, you hve to look down for trip hazards, up for any objects moving around on the crane, and in all other directions for riggers and other deck crew going about their normal duty. Coupled with this, the deck crew are also looking out for the inexperienced people and therefore their full attention is not on the job in hand. This causes extra danger to the more experienced as well is the inexperienced. This is why I agree that inexperienced staff are an extra hazard, however, the only way to make them experienced is by getting them out there. Whether that be in extra - real life - training scenarios, or just as part of their job, only time will tell.

Igwe Veronica Ifenyinwa's picture

Life itself is a risk, those who take it, make it. There is
virtually no occupation in the modern world without its own hazards only that
they are in variegated degrees and intensity. There are several dangers closely
associated with young and inexperienced workers, namely careless handling of
machineries, youthful exuberance, lack of self control, disobedience and
disrespect for authority and instructions, intellectual anxiety and
restlessness, the enthusiasm to experiment and apply newly acquired
University-degree knowledge, impatience, the propensity to cut corners and lots

Moreover, that a worker is young does not make
him inexperienced. He can garner experience on the Job inspite of his age, if only
he will adhere to safety instructions and best practices

WilliamBradford's picture

That certainly is true, I certainly can't think of any activity that holds no risks.

Also, you're very correct, an inexperienced worked can be of any age, the only requirement for an inexperienced worker is a lack of experience.


Alabi Ochu Abdulraheem's picture

You have really spoken well about the issue and I don’t really need to make much contribution. Though your comment, ‟life itself is a risk and those who takes it, makes it”, makes me remember one of those careless comments made in my native country Nigeria.
‟Life itself is a risk”, agreed, because of some human factors you have mentioned, which are uncontrollable but could be reduced to some degree, as some of the dangers associated with young and inexperienced workers. The other part of it which says ‟those who takes the risk, makes it” would depend on ALARP. High risk, if noticed, doesn’t need to be taken but mitigated against by some safety and risk management principles. On the subject of discussion, one way this could be achieved is by putting a structure in place where by recruitment of workers in an organisation would solely be by merit, so that employees would have what it takes to gather necessary experience on the job as you have mentioned, and not by influence which increase risk associated with human factors.
Reg no:   51231595

Olamide s Ajala's picture

 I quite agree with igwe that some young inexperienced workers could be recklessness ,frivolous and anxious to  jumble thing together in a rush and boycott technical or detailed processes because they feel the method or process is lengthy which may  results into serious incident.

However, if  this natural aptitude of the young inexperience graduate can be harmonized and tailored to the company strategic fits,it will eventually pay off because industry needs agile and young people to eventual replace the old experienced people which at certain point in life (according to law of diminishing return) will be come outdated or there productivity will have been depleted.

In summary,young inexperience people could  be dangerous to a work environment,if they lack the technical competence or skill base required for a particular task.Hence adequate quality training should be given to all employee regardless of age or experience to ensure adequate integrity management of all asset ,thereby mitigating risk.



Harrison Oluwaseyi's picture

New and young
workers who lack experience and exposure to the office and field environment
are faced with several challenges or risk during there first few years as a new
employee. These problems could be of different types which include following
routine work programs, safety and health standards, lateness, work ethics (answering
personal calls and texting during the working hours) etc which are caused by
lack of maturity, communication, reliability and prioritizing. These problems
of young and experienced employees over the years have cost organisations
significant amounts of money and injury with a very low fatality numbers. These
reasons and so many others noticed over the years is the reason why most organisations
have an induction and a HSE program for the new and young employees to
introduce to the company system and work programs.

But let’s not
forget, the new, young and inexperienced employees of today will one day be the
professions, experts and supervisors of tomorrow. I feel the new and inexperienced
intakes should be put in mentorship programs. This program (i.e. working under
strict supervisor of an experienced employee) gives them an insight of what is
expected of them and how the job is to be carried out before been left alone to
carry out the job without supervision.

FELIXMAIYO's picture

I would like to agree with Ambrose and John Bosco when they say that younger employers bring new ideas to the company but my concern is how many of these ideas are being implemented? Many companies assume they do not have any experience hence these bright ideas go to waste. If I can remember well from James Munro lecture, over 99% of the companies do not provide training to their employees and hence who is to blame for the inexperienced workers?  We should not lay the blame on companies.
Cheap labour provided by the young workers and the inexperienced workers has been the other factor. Many companies don't want to spend on experienced workers hence they resort to cheaper ways to save the company from spending.
Conclusion, companies are to blame for safety when it comes to young and inexperienced workers.


ikenna_ekekwe's picture

Hi Felix, I cant remember Mr. Munro in any of his lectures ever saying that "over 99%" of the companies do not provide training to their employees. Please, I would be very grateful if you can be kind enough to me and tell me the exact lecture so that i can go back and rewatch the video on MyAberdeen - or is this just a typographical error on your part because you would agree with me that "over 99%" is a pretty large percentage for such a non-compliance.

Also, i am of the opinion that almost all companies operate a salary scale which is commiserate with staff level, experience and qualification. There is no entry level employee who wants to earn the same amount as the general manager else, that would be just plain greed. Therefore, don't you think that branding young workers as cheap labour is being a little bit over-dramatic?

Ikenna Ekekwe


Inexperienced worker in offshore could make
an accident because lack of concept in safety, unfamiliar with offshore environment.
First of all, management emphasize on importance of safety, Hazards are always in
work site. It could be discussed / explained in job safety analysis and permit
to work. Job safety analysis is a kind of procedure for specific operation, it
also include any safety caution related with each step. Also, permit to work is
approval system for individual work in topside, so HSE manger can monitor which
kind of work is ongoing on site. Managing personnel in the site carrying ‘stop’
card can give a warning or call a halt for individual work. Depends on the
system, he/she cannot work any longer if violate safety regulation repeatedly.
These measurements are not specified for apprentice but for all workers, it should
be effective for them.





sreehariprabhu's picture

Thanks for bringing up an interseting debate topic. I agree with points made by Ambrose and John. Eventhough there are dangers associated with young professionals, we cannot make them experienced without giving them industry exposure. Its similar like getting a cycle balance. We will learn only through practice. But care should be taken that the young proffesionals are not given major duties in the beginning. He should be given enough time to get familiar with the worksite and duty. But when it comes to Oil and Gas industry, even a small mistake can cause to major accidents. So it is important to make him understand about the dangers associated with each process. The company which recruites must have a good view on traning the young ones. The following can be done:

1. Give the individual a good knowledge about the industry by taking him to worksite.

2. Make him familiar with the operations and the safety measures required.

3. Assign a good mentor for a period of 1 year.

The skills needed can be developed through the above methods and thus he will be aware of the dangers and safety measures required. Its only through a good training we can develop this. So it depends on the company view and measures they take to train the individual perfectly. A good training and industry exposure can make the individual work safely and reponsibily. This allows to make emerge young guns with new passion and ideas which are needed for a better future of tommorrow. Since Oil and Gas industry will be facing more technological challenges in future, it is important to train and develop the skills of youngsters to face these challenges boldly.

Sreehari Ramachandra Prabhu

faizakhatri's picture

Since young and inexperienced workers have lack of awareness of Hazard and their exposure of associated risk of the workplace which harmful,create injury or damaging /dangerous and ultimately create incident/accident.Typically workplace injury included (lifting,invloving electricity,slip,trip and falls,deal with chemicals )  and to avoid some basic workplace hazards.employer must provide perticular HSE training to inexperienced workers along with PPE(personal protective Equipment ) like

steel-toed shoes or boots

safety helmets or hats



face shields


hearing protection devices

before starting of work  and introduce control measures to eliminate or minimise the risks so far as is reasonably practicable to the company for preventing incidents or accident to make safety culture.


Faiza khatri M.Sc oil and gas engineering

Andreas Kokkinos's picture

is no doubt that young and inexperienced workers considered being the best
candidates to perform errors. Sometimes these errors may have no negative
consequences, sometimes minor and sometimes major consequences such as
fatalities, environmental disasters and other.

important to mention that many construction, industrial and energy related
accidents were performed by experience personnel who have made serious errors
and miscalculation. For this reason we cannot be absolute about the dangers
associated with young or inexperienced personnel alone but also with the
experienced as well.

the other hand, young and inexperienced personnel usually do not realize immediately
the potential hazards in a workplace, their consequences and very often how to
avoid them. For these reasons the employers must utilize important measures for
their young personnel in order to avoid such inconvenient situations. Currently,
the manufacturing industry, the oil and gas industry and other take very
seriously the safety training of their employees and usually their young and
inexperienced personnel is often supervised.

safety measures must be undertaken by all the personnel disregarding their
experience and age. The employer must be confident that his/her personnel is
properly trained for a specific job and that the potential hazards generated
due to the environment of the workplace as clear and understood by the workers
in order to avoid any type of incident.


Oil and Gas Engineering

Thomas Ighodalo's picture

"Everything we hear is an opinion not a fact"

My point of view will be slightly biased as since it would be coming from an Engineering design perspective, and ofcourse Safety starts at the design phase which naturallly brings me to another interesting topic "Good Engineering Judgment" a very overused phrase with potentially damaging consequencies when not applied properly. Back to the the discussion "The dangers associated with young and inexperienced workers" the consequences are obvious, take for instance a fresh BSc/Msc graduate tasked to size a Pressure relieving system for a pressurized vessel, the task on the surface might seem mundane i.e a piece of cake but failure to adequately size the PSV might lead to devasting consequences which could lead to loss of equipment due to overpressure and subsequent loss of life. Tasking an experienced Engineer to size the valve would also appear as using a sledge hammer to kill a fly, in other to address this bridge and effectively manage ManPower, as well as build on experience, and reduce cost, a novel idea was introduced, which ideally curtails the dangers associated with the use of inexperience hires. the methodologhy used is Hierarchical checks and balances inexperienced engineers are hired as junior engineers (0-5yrs), whose deliverables are checked by intermediate engineers (5-10yrs), this further checked by the Senior or Lead engineer(>10yrs) this effectively minimizes the risk of inexperience as well as provides a good QA/QC process within the organization, and it definitely creates an avenue where experience is constantly being renewed via  the cycle- the dangers one must note will be poaching of staff by rival companies/or the Client company.



xenios.ze's picture

The young and inexperienced workers
in the oil and gas industry are passing through hard training programs, in
order to feel and work with confidence. I don’t believe that there is any oil
company that risks the safety of its employees throwing in the work field
people that are inexperienced. Companies ensure the safety of their younger
employees by training them properly; some programs are created specifically to address
the conditions and risks relevant to petroleum exploration and production. Each
dynamic, competency-based environmental, occupational health and safety
training course is targeted to employees in the oil and gas industry. The
training employs simulations, situational examples, and imagery relevant to
exploration and production operations.




MSc Oil and Gas Engineering

Xenios Zenieris

Adejugba Olusola's picture

Thanks for initiating this interesting topic. Companies, the oil & gas industry and the economy as a whole needs the continuous in-flow of young workers. They bring with them fresh ideas and enthusiasm, facilitate growth for organisations and ensure business continuity. However, they bring along some risks most of which have been mentioned previously.

This is a risk that can be mitigated and managed. My opinion is that the responsibility is mainly on organisations to put systems(Safe System of Work), procedures and processes in place to ensure young and new workers become competent to do their jobs. Induction and familiarization with work site to increase risk awareness, training, work shadowing, coaching and mentoring are all ways companies can help employees attain competency to do their jobs.

The relevant industries also need to set competency frameworks/levels for their respective trades. According to Step Change in Safety presentation on Competency, Competence comprises of Education, Training, Behaviour, Attitude, Currency and Experience. There is the temptation to focus on training, education and experience. However, behaviour, attitude and currency are equally important to ensuring a competent workforce.

Experienced workers also have a responsibility of Intervention. This is especially important in offshore environments where violations and errors can have immediate significant consequences. In personnel development which affects everyone, workers change roles or move up the corporate ladders etc and there is always a phase of inexperience which will need to be managed till competence is attained.


Adejugba Olusola

Ber_Mar's picture

I would like to add a simple which is the value of human life across culture, which i believe is an important topic.

Having worked in non oil and Gas projects, but just construction managment i came to find diferent perspectives from workers wheather they're age is, sometime reckleness can be a factor of age but not only. 

 Without wanting to point specific backgrounds, one comes to find people who's background is so harsh that they simply "dont care"... even if all procedures and certifications are in place. I believe this to be a lesser problem in the Oil and Gas industry because it is better paid, nevertheless it shouldn't be forgoten. 

N.A- When i state value i dont mean economical value but as a set of Values, how much human life is worth across religions and cultures. I think this could also help to explain the young age reckleness as death or injury is yet far away and not a conceibable possibility


ikenna_ekekwe's picture

Bernado, I dont quite understand what you mean or what you are trying to infer by your comment/post. In your post, are you trying to say that there are cultures and societies that despite economic despensation, we can find the young ones to be very reckless and the aged and experienced to be very careful?

 Please forgive my tone, but i completely disagree with you because i believe that in any given class of a society and in any given  time, the set of values remains constant across age, whether old or young. If you say these set of values are dependent on economic value, then you may not be wrong.

I also dont agree that age can be used as an excuse for recklessness.


Ikenna Ekekwe 

Ber_Mar's picture

My dear colleague, thank you very much for asking this question as it gives me the opportunity to explain myself.

 As social class status might have influence on the value human gives to its own life, i believe it is also proved that some societes in which believes are diferent about after life and reincarnation, for the life value to be lesser when comparing to other societies were life is nurtererd and tendered.

 I dont mean by this post to assume a racist or religouis skewed point of view, but just to open ones mind to the inevitable possibilities arround the world.

I hope to have adressed correctly you're concers


Samuel Bamkefa's picture

Reading through William's initial post, I could see that he made some points that some of us have not considered. He made mention of low and high risk situations. Based on this, it is not every situation that will fit into the context. As someone who has worked both in the office and offshore, I will agree with that areas like Engineering Design can take a lot of inexperienced hands. But then, such a position is what I will classify as a low risk situation. Young engineers are actually the most active on projects. Placing the young engineer at the bottom of the ladder where his work will undergo a lot of checks to me has made his position to be of low risk. It would be unthinkable for anyone to put such as a final decision maker (e.g. lead engineer). The high risk situation is when someone's error can spell catashtrophe. That is clearly not the case in for a young design engineer

Having said this, I realise that the best way to learn is on the job.  But then, personnel that will work on high risk jobs have to be supervised and must grow into being independent. This is not experienced people cannot make mistakes themselves. I have seen many examples of accidents given. But then, have we thougth of what would have happened if it was inexperienced people handling the facilities? 

Abdulazeez Bello's picture

Most companies today do intensive trainee programs as an
induction to working environment which exposes the young and inexperienced ones
to various sections of the company. Here part of the modules taught is the
importance of working safely and how to imbibe it in their everyday affairs in
respective of the background the trainee has, be it safety and reliability
Engineering. This is not to say that some trainees can’t be careless or
overzealous but then most of that are also being checkmated with the mentorship
role assigned to more experienced hand on the field. Part of their roles are vetting
and supervising the activities of their mentee while planning or doing a task
to ensure that safety is paramount in all they do. Some companies even give a
different head gear to newly inducted trainees and visitors to worksite so that
their activities can be monitored by all around.
 Task risk assessment and Tool box
meeting before the commencement of a job also serve as a platform to educate the
trainees. Participation in the” U see U act” reporting has also help keep the
trainees vigilant. Some small companies and even the big ones are sometimes
guilty of bad safety culture which also trickles down to the trainees while
others have bad welfare packages which does not allow the company to keep
experience hand for long thereby exposing the trainees to jobs they might not
be qualified to do in the first place.  

Foivos Theofilopoulos's picture

There have been many posts and many valid points in this topic. I will try to add to it by directly addressing the question posed in William's original post:  "What dangers can you think of related to new starts? How could we mitigate them effectively? Do you have any ‘interesting’ experiences working with the inexperienced?"

While completely inexperienced in the oil&gas field, I have some experience in construction and industry.  I should make a disclaimer though, when I think of new starts I tend to think of people in the age category of "either in the middle of or having just finished their first degree", not someone who is just inexperienced in a particular field of work and the hazards involved in it. So, from what little experience I have, I came to the conclusion that new starts are under two kinds of dangers. Dangers originating from themselves and their lack of experience and dangers originating from their working environment.

 The first category has to do with someone who comes to a working environment and does not know the dangers, the hazards involved, or isn't properly aware of the specific safety procedures used by their employer etc. This can happen from the employer being lax when it comes to assessing if a new start is ready for on-site work, or from the inexperienced person's lack of attention to the information given to him/her. As many people have written before me, this danger can be mitigated by having safety tests or briefings to assess if inexperienced employees are ready for on-site work (in case there actually IS a safety regime in the company) and from assigning some kind of "chaperone" or mentor to the newcomer.

Foivos Theofilopoulos's picture



The second category has to do with the working environment in a specific company, meaning the safety culture, how employees conform to safe procedures and even if they tend to report or turn a blind eye to misbehavior and unsafe conduct. Usually (at least in my country but unfortunately not limited there), workplace conduct involves a LOT of "monkey see, monkey do" with little or no reasoning as to why and this can be very crucial. If newcomers are not placed in an environment where they are mimicing the correct behavior/procedures they will only end up doing things wrong, and when you add to it their lack of experience then you have a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately the ways of mitigating or stopping this phenomenon are tied with the safety culture of the company involved, even the country involved.

I've witnessed people doing all sorts of stupid (and yes, this is a harsh term, I know) and unsafe acts at a construction site and I ended up being "bullied" by the senior engineer there because "I should mind my own business" and "those workers have been with the company for more than 10 years and who am I to say that they are doing it wrong"...Nevertheless, ideas that have already been mentioned (such are colored hats) coupled with a very strict approach to reporting unsafe conduct (something very difficult in many working environments as many workplaces develop their own version of "omerta") can help with making the workplace safer to the newcomer.


Safety for new employees is critical if the industry is to build a new generation that will move the industry forward. From a personal experience, I went to the rig as a new employee (green-hat) and the first induction I got was safety, I wasnt allowed to do anything until i was made to undergo a full rig safety induction. I never knew that will save my life, couple of nights later i was walking to the rig floor and I observed a crane picking a stack of tubulars to the rig floor and I stood aside to wait for the lifting operations to finish before i continue on my journey when the sling being used broke and gave way. it was a loud bang, and crashing of tubulars unto the deck, fortunately no one was hurt but I could have been hurt if I didnt listened to the safety briefing and trainings. Today as an experience engineer contributing to the development of the oil industry but if something had happened that night then i wont be contributing to the industry today. Nowadays I see young engineers being recruited and i remember my story, it moves me to ensure that the safety trainings they recieve are understood and taken seriously. we owe young inexperience employees and even older employees the duty of ensuring safety is adhered to and also to ensure it is taking home. Safety saves and it moves our industry forward by ensuring we dont loss our most precious resources.... human capital.

YAKUBU ABUBAKAR 51126107's picture

In response to William Bradford comment regarding young and inexperienced
personnel safety at workplace. I would like to give example to myself I was
opportune to be expose to working in a workshops at a very young age but just like
any other young minds observing personal safety and workshop working ethics was
a problem for me I just work carelessly. For that reason I sustain minor
injuries quite often due to either not working   with
the right tools or not wearing PPE and a lot of other related issues.

What I’m saying in nut shell is that, it’s the responsibility
of the organisation to make it mandatory to all personnel especially the young
ones to observed safety rules and regulations in all their operation, and
organising safety talks and training having safety drills etc. In that way they
would learn the art of safety and grow with it, and it would become a habit for
them when they grow in the system.

Yakubu Abubakr.

chukwuemeka uzukwu's picture

Workers in their respective fields of expertise who have physically demanding jobs have probably felt exhausted and pushed to their limits many times over the course of their careers. But over time, they gain experience and knowledge that may help them to do their jobs more efficiently and with greater ease. Unfortunately, newer and younger workers in particularly dangerous fields might not realize how quickly their safety could be jeopardized by one simple mistake.          Young workers can be an asset to the workforce – enthusiastic, hard working, and eager to learn. However, young people are at higher risk of work-related injuries and illnesses. Because of their age, immaturity, and inexperience, young people could be at greater risk in the workplace.
When they are new to the workplace, they will encounter unfamiliar risks from the work they carry out, and from the working environment.
Employers must ensure that they assess the risks to young persons and make sure they put in place controls to reduce the risks.

Uzukwu Chukwuemeka

ikenna_ekekwe's picture

A bit off-blog, but while reading through this blog, i couldnt help toying with the idea that lack of experience in young school leavers might be bridged by acquiring certifications. But then again, i realised that certificates and experience are two different things altogether. Being qualified means you have practised, experienced and proven that you are capable of performing or handling tasks or situations, while being certified just means to confirm as genuine that you possess the theoretical knowledge on the subject matter.

I would also like to point out that it is very crucial to understand that although professional courses and certifications are important, the more important issue is becoming who the employers want i.e. becoming an employer's dream. This is because in the true sense, certification does not necessarily equal qualification.

Ikenna Ekekwe


Neil Fraser James Carr's picture



I would like to ask the question, do you believe that inexperience
makes you more of a danger than being experienced and complacent?


It is my opinion that through exposure to hazards over a
prolonged period the person’s personal perception of risk changes, often
dulled, unless they have seen the worst case outcome of the tasks they are
employed to do. I personally have never been harmed at work however I have seen
numerous accidents and so my own perception of risk is high even though the
tasks that the workers were injured in I would be classed as inexperienced to


An example of this is working at height, inexperienced personnel
are normally very cautious working at height as it is unfamiliar to them whereas
experienced scaffolders or rope access technicians appear so at home they can
often disregard the barriers in place to protect them as an inconvenience, I personally
would always be harnessed and hooked on while at height but a walk around any
construction site would reveal vastly experienced roofers wandering about at height
with no restraints unless they are under direct supervision.


It is my personal view that inexperience does not lead to a lower
safety performance however it does create a less efficient and a poorer quality
of work taking a longer time to complete which in turn may push more people to
cut corners leading to a less safe environment for staff.

Oluwasegun Onasanya's picture

On a personal account, before going offshore for the first time to work, i had a comprehensive fourteen months(14) training on the
operations and maintenance related to oil and gas production facility. The training which centered on Operations, Instrumentation,

Mechanical,Electrical and HSE, gave me a broad knowledge of what awaits me proper when i get to the field, as it was all emcompassing.
Even with the comprehensive and training that i acquired from the training school, i was not given any major job(s)/tasks to do when i got to
the field.

The simple reason was that, there is a big and clear difference between the training school and the real work environment. In the real work
environment,you see everything in the real sense of it, you see the big picture, everything you have learnt will start taking shape.

As no rational person, will entrust a gun in the hands of a todddler, the level of trust between an inexperienced worker and the experienced
ones is low as at the beginning. But it is always expected to rise gradually as time goes on due to various factors- Willingness to learn, good
questioning attitude, positive attitude to work, ability to be a team player, ready to take instructions and abide by rules and so many more.
Being inexperience does not mean, the worker does not know anything, it only means the worker needs to know what is being done and how it needs
to be done, there at the workplace.

An inexperienced worker should not be on his/her own, but should be assigned and attached to a mentor, who will also work, train, groom the inexperienced
worker and answer any questions that are put accrossed. In my own case, i had an On the Job Trainer(OJT) that i was attached to and he was practically
assessing me, measuring my level of accomplishments and putting me through where and where necessary.
This act of practical guide prevented me from been a danger or safety hazard at the workplace.

I am of the opinion that, this should apply to inexperienced workers in any workplace within any industry. They should be properly mentored and guided by
the experienced ones up to the point where they will also be up and doing and would have earned the trust of everyone.
But if they are not put through and shown the way, definitely they will be Accidents waiting to happen.

t01sik12's picture

Safety Awareness should be of high priority in our daily business, not just in the oil industry. I would share my personal experience, an incident that happened to  colleaque. Was asked to go offshore because the Company man needed to have 3 man crew and so an employee on 6 months Industrial attachment was sent as a result of making extra money for himself. That singular act caused him his life because he didnt have the proper safety awareness training before he was sent. One current factor in eliminating accident in our daily business should be creating safety awareness, understanding the environmental dangers around the work place, using the right employees or experienced for critical job. The potential risk involved in an action can more effectively be guided and in turn minimised, reducing the risk of an accident occuring.

Deinyefa S. Ebikeme's picture

One of the major challenges faced by industry in recent times is bridging the knowledge gap between new employees and supposed experienced ones in any particular operations. In some scenarios, you find experienced employees in a particular operation unwilling to give-out full knowledge of their skills in order for them not to be kicked-out and also for them to remain valuable to the organisation. Sometimes, you find-out these so-called experienced ones make repeated operational mistakes which are most times covered-up in their number of years in the job. This issues has led to gradual decline in productivity of various industrial activities due to the ageing effect of so-called experienced professionals. New employees will always be required by any industry to remain in the competitive market and the concept of 'inexperience' is a major function of the organisation inability to engage these new force in proper training/mentoring and communication programme with experienced ones where he/she learns and understands his/her roles in a relative manner.  

Deinyefa Stephen Ebikeme IBIYF

Ike Precious C.'s picture

Going through the comments, going with Samuel, I think the level of danger associated with the inexperience of young people has to do with the level of risk of the job repsonsibility; this can be overcome by good Identification strategy like Bernard said and very good Mentoring programme as Elvis.
Nevertheless, I think the mentality of the Mentor/Experienced workforce comes into play; In a world where it is commonly said, 'Knowledge is Power', to what extent are the Experienced workforce willing to impart their knowledge/experience without the fear of losing their position/jobs to these young and upcoming vibrant workforce.
The programme may be put in place but in a situation where the Mentor involved functions positionally as a Mentor but fail to transfer the knowledge as expected of him/her from the company.
Putting Mentoring programmes is not just enough, but integrating experienced workers who have a hunger/zeal/passion to groom Engineers that will go on to break new fronts in technology because their sense of responsibility drives them much more than the fact that it is a company policy.
This I believe facilitates and quickens the learning process because they (experienced workers) don't feel vulnerable to these younger ones and hence expose them to every possible scenario with an open mind to try the ideas of the young workforce.

Thank you.

Precious Ike

Fungisai N Nota's picture

 I do believe that I our everyday society the greatest thing
that has come to play is the employment of young workers. This is from the
point where some have graduated and some come on as apprenticeship. Any company
that either has graduate schemes and apprenticeship going all have one thing in
common a set out way of doing thing from the time you start to when you will be
given the freedom to make you own judgement. So you find that the room for
risks caused by young inexperienced works is more lower than what people put it
as it is more likely the seniors on the job who can be regarded as a risk as
they feel that they have been on the job longer a at times fail to follow the
right protocols on basis the in the years there have been there things have not
happened. The pressure of being young at a new job yes is high and we never
want o lose the job at time being over precocious.   

Fungisai Nota BEng(Hons) MIET

Siwei Kang's picture

I have to say this is a good topic, not only for young and inexperienced workers, but be helpful for experienced ones. Apparently, there are a lot of difficulities existed when young apprentices or workers. Safety is the most important one. Here I want to share my two experience to support how safety is important in oil and gas industry.

When I worked in CNOOC, the first lesson I had in my career is about safety. In CNOOC, we have to obey strict rules when working. The most famous and foundamental rule is named "No works". No work before fully aware of the hazards; No work before all control measures are in place; No work before all modes of protection are ready; No work before the environment is safe; No work when there is lack of skill/experience. If the working environment is lack of the conditions mentioned in "No works", any emploee can have the right to refuse the working order from their supervisor or boss. 

Another experience is happend in Aberdeen. I once had the opportunity to visit the BP Northsea headquater. When I entered the buidling, the most impressed thing for me is that every step has a note labelled that "Please hold the handrail". And I saw every emploeey obeys this rule perfectly no matter when. Althought deepwater horizon accident gave BP negative reputation, it is unfair to conclude that BP is bad in safety management or safety regulation. On the other hand, it is obvious that effective execution is also as important as regulation. Only strict regulation is not enough, poor execution can also lead disasters, like deepwater horizon accident.

For young apprentices, good behavoir and effective execution are compulsory to avoid accident, because we don't have too much experience. The easiest way is to do what the safety rule taught us. 

Tony Morgan's picture

COMPETENCE is the key ( as touched on by Andrew Strachan )

Which i would suggest is the correct blend of Knowledge, Skills, Experience ( as mentioned previously) plus Attitude!

And i think the addition of attitude is the essential component in really making a difference to all our safety. We must be careful though as it can be completely cultural and in our multicultural industries of today it is a SAFETY CULTURE which is essential and somehow we must find the correct way to recognise these basic cultural differences whilst at the same time evolving them by setting high standards for attitudes in the workplace as it is directly linked to SAFETY and DANGER reduction for the employees and workers around us.

The HSAW act of 1974 is the regulation which upholds our DUTY of care for ourselves and one another.

The other key area of focus in regard to competency for us all as engineers should be a drive to raise the profile and awareness of the need for PROFESSIONAL competence approval by industry institutions such as IMECH or IET or ICHEME ( for the traditionals) or others who adopt the UK-SPEC competency process which seeks to develop engineers at all levels from technician, engineer through to specialists and managers or lead engineers and recognises the differences via EngTECH, IENG or CENG levels to satisfy COMPETENCY validation through CONTINUED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT not simply get a degree, get a job, get better paid as an end goal but uses more a learn and grow, learn and grow, broaden or deepen knowledge, give something back ( mentoring) , learn, grow, pass on, share experiences.

These are the themes supported by the institutions and we should support them and do our bit over our career paths to uphold these principles for the benefit of all.

tony morgan

Sineenat Kruennumjai's picture

Young resources and new workers, who don’t have experience and knowledge about hazards on the job that they work, could get serious work-related injuries. The causes of work-related injuries might associate with careless, inexperience. For example, inexperience workers who work in particularly dangerous areas, they may not know how quickly their responsibility could take an action for escape when the failure event occurs. Unlike practiced workers, they have gained more knowledge during their working life. So, practiced workers know how to do their jobs more safety and more efficiently, and they know what they have to do when failure events occur.
 The way to mitigate the dangers associated with young and inexperienced workers in the workplace is training. It is very important that every worker, especially in who are inexperienced in work, have to perceive the potential hazards that might occur in workplace. So training and teaching new worker are necessary. 


Posted BY
Sineenat Kruennumjai
ID 51126536

Liu Yishan's picture

For young inexperience workers, I think the most important method to avoid accidents is training. An excellent training program could help young workers understanding the significance of safety in oil & gas industry. Everyone working offshore in the UK must attend the Basic Safety Induction & Emergency Training (BOSIET). Since 2007, a workgroup collaborating with OPITO has developed a new training program called Minimum Industry Safety Training (MIST) which improved safety performance by applying best practice training at a consistent level across industry in safety critical areas. There are more than 90% of the UK offshore workers had completed the MIST program. It covers nine basic safety elements:
 Introduction to the Hazardous Offshore Environment
 Working Safely including Safety Observations Systems
 Understanding the Risk Assessment Process
 Tasks that Require a Permit to Work
 Personal Responsibility in Maintaining Asset Integrity
 Using Manual Handling Techniques every day
 Controlling the use of Hazardous Substances Offshore
 Knowledge and Practices of Working at Height
 Being Aware of Mechanical Lifting Activities

I believe this training program would contribute to reduce risk of inexperience workers in practice.


Derek Porter.'s picture

Good post Liu. This is in fact the correct safety procedure adopted by all companies operating in North Sea waters.

In my experience, many of my colleagues and friends have completed this course with general ease giving comments such as “I fell asleep during BOSIET” etc.  Some of these people, although they are my friends I would not trust them (at this point in the career) to take any safety or risk analysis in their own lives let alone when they can cause a risk to others on an offshore platform. I am sure this is where the HSE are promoting the initiative in Ref 1 for all employees to have HSE responsibilities.

The point I am trying to make is it is literally impossible to fail these courses meaning anyone who pays the money is now a trusted employee while offshore. This is a serious issue.
My solution would be to increase the difficulty of these tests and also introduce a cost free pre-screening test to ensure the right people are ready to complete the course.

Ref 1:

"Young workers are at a much higher risk of injury than
workers of any other age group.  More than half of the serious injuries
and fatalities involving workers aged 15 to 24 occur during the first six
months on the job.  And almost 20 percent occur during the first month on
the job"

 (Worksafe BC, New and
Young Worker Orientation and Training Requirements FAQ)


The immaturity, unfamiliar hazards and lack of understanding
of what is expected from inexperienced workers increases the likelihood of
serious incidents occurring.

A major issue is management having expectations that
inexperienced workers can perform the tasks as efficiently and knowledgeable as
an experienced worker. Extra consideration in the Health and Plan will be required
in tasks which carry significant risks especially giving the younger worker’s
skills and experience. In the case of young, inexperienced workers, a strong
Health and Safety management system becomes of more importance to control the

Additional Consideration for young, inexperienced workers:

Risk management- When assessing risks of a task,
additional consideration should on young people and inexperienced workers. Controls
should be put in place to minimise that risks for inexperienced workers

Training – is the most important aspect in
safety. Training will provide the skills, awareness to understand what is
expected in their job role and how to do specific tasks safely. Additional training
should be done around new tasks.

Training should cover the

Safe operating procedures


Associated Hazards


Mentoring and supervision will allow to the
inexperienced workers to taught and observed on the job. Supervising will help
control the hazards which they could be exposed. The mentor can assess the
young workers  skills and knowledge to
see if they are capable of working independently and in a safe manner.

Overall, it is the management need to show a greater
understanding and awareness of the skills and experience of personnel and make provisions
to ensure that workers are not undertaking tasks that they are incapable of carrying



James Parry
MSc Subsea Engineering

a.bhardwaj.12's picture

This is a nice topic to talk on. I would like to share one of my recent experience. During a recent visit of MSc Subsea Group to Oceaneering Umbilical Facility in Rosyth, I observed few students going ahead touching the reels having fresh made hoses. Although the instructions were clearly provided but the human curiosity is the most dangerous thing. I believe that most of the accidents are due to human curiosity. In this case I found a group 3 people slowly moving out of the green zone (which was not prescribed to walk in) and moved out to touch the hose reel. There were many hazards in the activity. As HSE & DNV prescribes that protruding and rotating parts of the structure are dangerous to be around when in operation. Still students didn't read the shopfloor warning and didn't follow the instructions. 

I think students need to understand the consequences of their acts when they are in field.  

Tianchi You's picture

Nowadays, as the health and safety management is becoming more and more popular in oil&gas industries,actually not only in oil&gas industries but also this phenomenon happened in other industries. Inexperienced workers have received better training than before, which means these young and inexperienced workers know better than many years ago. However, there are still some people may not think about the importance of health and safety so they may not put attention on it. In my opinion, I have some personal ideas about the ways which can help young and inexperienced workers:

  • Emphasise the importance of safety again and agian
  • Give examples of the accidents which were caused by the ignorance
  • Inspect the equipments which may help to protect workers such as helmets
  • Employ some HSE managers to give lectures to both young and experienced workers
  • Publicise the experience from experienced workers which can help young workers to adapt to the environment

Because of the reason for that young/inexperienced workers can cause unpredicted consequence during the work if they do not focus on it so that the company must remind them of the importance of safety and health all the time, if it is necessary they can install CCTV cameras around the construction sites.


Tianchi You


Oil&gas engineering

Azeezat's picture

It is a known fact that there are more dangers
associated with young and inexperienced worker in the work environment. My idea
about inexperienced worker was in the area of paying attention to details and
attitude to correction. We all know how it could be for someone  starting a job for the first time and how
strange it could be embrassing the workplace culture. To be sincere, this is an
interesting but controversial topic that depends on individual or organisational
perspective on the value of both experienced and inexperienced worker. As we
all know everything come with a price, hence the idea of experienced versus
inexperienced have both advantages and disadvantages. My suggestion to
employers would be to recruit people with the potentials and best fit for the job
whether young, old, experinenced or inexperienced, but with the good attitude
to work and it’s enviroment , reliable, flexible to change and above all safety
conscious. Experienced or inexperienced both offers valuable contributions that
employers require. Although, inexperienced worker might be at higher risk in
the discharge of their duties at the early stage of work but over time they get
familiar with the checks and balances and their routine.

In order to mitigate the risk posed by  inexperience worker there should be a
standard of operating procedure given to the inexperienced worker at the start
of job or during induction session(safety briefing),increased levels of
supervision and support to inexperienced worker at their early stages of
employment.  Although training, an
inexperienced worker  is expensive and

I think workplace safety would be more achievable with ongoing safety inspections
for both the experience and inexperience. Employers must ensure that they
assess the risks of the young or inexperienced worker  and make sure they put in place minimize the

Dike Nwabueze Chinedu.'s picture

This is a very interesting topic and has attracted numerous comments. I will like to add by saying that for a young worker may not necessarily be inexperienced. Every organisation has a process/sequence by which its inexperienced workers are inducted into the system and learn on the job. certification gives you the necessary theoritical background and actual practice on the job gives you the required experience. From Engineering to commissioning of a project, the need for mentorship and succession calls for 'inexperienced workers'. For every inexperienced worker, the is always a supervisor whom He reports to. The good thing about most of the inexperienced workers is that they come with a new drive, unbiased mind and some level of genuine enthusiasm. The dangers involved come into play when the inexperienced worker is not properly monitored for every task given to him.

The dangers associated with these inexperienced workers can be reduced following the particular organisation structural plan in place. These may include series of trainings, close monitoring, task assessment. The human behavior is not also to be left out when considering the dangers involved.

amaka.ikeaka's picture

In the workplace, the employees
are exposed to several occupational hazards, which could lead to serious
work-related injuries. Lesson learnt after exposure to such situations is the
need to follow workplace rules and regulations in order for safety to be
maintained at the workplace. Not to generalize, but unfortunately the newer and
younger workers in a workplace, have not come to the understanding that their
safety can be jeopardized by one simple mistake. The burden therefore falls on
the employers to ensure that their inexperienced and young employees are made
aware of the potential dangers that they could face in a workplace. It all
boils down to putting more effort into ways to improve the workers' safety and in
addition alerting the workers about the potential hazards that could occur in a
workplace on a regular basis.




amir masoud bayat's picture

Different types of health and safety hazards could happen at the worksites which employ young and inexperienced people.

There are three groups of hazards;

Chemical hazards: they are vapors, gases and liquids which can harm workers bodies, for instance, pesticides or cleaning products.

Biological hazards: they are living things which may cause a lot of diseases such as hepatitis, AIDS, flu and Lyme disease. For instance, the inexperience workers may be exposed to biological hazards by contact with sick children, used needles and animals.

Safety hazards: they can cause immediate injuries and accidents. For instance, slippery floors, machines without guards, hot surface, unsafe ladders, hot grease and unsafe electric circuits.

References:'s picture

I would like to talk about the graduate programs here for the young and inexperienced workers.There are too many young and inexperienced workers every year, most of them are just graduated from colleges. They do not have much experience and what they have is just the knowledge from the books. However, most of the companies carry out the graduate schedules for the fresher which is quite significant for youngest, especially from the safety aspect.Oil and gas industry is a complex process including exploration, exploit, research and so on. Each of the process has some potential risk which may lead to safety issues. The graduate program will give the inexperience works some chances to work in different positions, that is to say, they can experience the most of the work in a safety approach. Sometimes , there are mature and abundant experience workers to help them to realize the correct operation way. This mean will reduce the dangers associated with the inexperienced workers and it should be promoted worldwide.   

Mohamed H. Metwally's picture

Very good topic....

The Egyptians say "have a look for now and buy tomorrow..." which means DON'T RUSH. 

It is very obvious that the fresh graduated doctor should not do any surgery on his own until he attends many surgeries with experienced doctors.

I know that many will challenge this analogy but I insist on that it is very suitable, not only that, in industry, the situation may be even worse...

For example, the experienced worker may be surprised when he learns that his young colleague does not know what X-ray is and what dangers it has!!!

Abiaziem Davidson's picture

The dangers associated with young and inexperienced workers in the workplace
Dangers associated with young and inexperienced workers in the workplace are numerous and most times exposed to hazards on the job that could lead to work related injuries. Most times teens with no safety or work safe related training seeks job and over time gain experience and knowledge that may them to do their more efficiently and with greater ease. But the question is, do these teens get the required training on the job?

Most organisation seem to see training of experienced teens as waste of material, resources and time for production and they tend to employ these teens mostly because of cheap labour derived. The cost of training an inexperienced worker out-weights the cost of work-related accident it might cause. 70% of the accidents in the oil and gas industry were caused by decisions or actions taken by workers and this point to inadequate supervision, education and training given to the worker (Health and Safety Executive, 2003).

Young and inexperienced workers with little or no safety awareness most time wants to impress their supervisors and push to their limits without realizing how quickly their safety could be jeopardized by one simple mistake. Most times, inexperienced work gets into the line of fire without realizing it and most times this leads to fatality accident in the industry.
Now, companies and organisations can be found guilty for manslaughter as a result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care. With this new act, it is the role of an organisation to ensure that workers both experienced and inexperienced gets safety and work related training.

1.Boughborough University and UMIST for the Health and Safety Executive (2003),' Casual Factors in Construction accidents' Research Report156 [online] Available at
2.Industrails workers accidents (2012), ‘Accident highlights dangers young, inexperienced workers face' [online] Available at
3.Health and Safety Executive (2007),'corporate manslaughter' [online] available at

Manuel Maldonado's picture

Every year accident investigations show a high percentage of causes related to young inexperience workers, particularly in the oil and gas sector. This statistics are more notorious in times of high activity like in the past two years when companies usually recruit people from other industries or young local people to perform new jobs, being this total new experience for this population. However, there is nothing wrong with recruiting young inexperienced workers, the main problem relates to lack of introductory training to provide the basics of safety (awareness) and to provide the minimum training required for performing their job safely. Most of the incidents caused by young inexperienced workers can be seen more often in a population of this type of workers delivering services on adhoc bases. They only go to a process plant or and installation to provide covers for personnel and therefore  and that is when lack of training, familiarization with safety rules, policies, procedures and process facilities become an issue.

 The hiring of young inexperienced workers becomes always a challenge to supervisors and managers who have to plan on how to provide the training to cope at least with the minimum requirement for them to perform their jobs safely. However, most of the time it becomes an issue when there are not established plans and mechanisms to deliver that training. Some other times time is an issue when the workers are required to go onto the job in a very short time. Only few companies have addressed these issues and have proper introductory plans and requirements to be met before the workers get involved with their job.

Having noticed that, the North Sea has stepped up and created a minimum requirement of training and certification for workers to be allowed to work offshore. The offshore survival training certification is compulsory for all offshore workers wanting to travel offshore. There is also a course called Minimun Industry Safety Training (MIST) developed by Opito which aims and ensuring every offshore worker has a basic level of Safety Knowledge. It covers the following areas:

Introduction to the Hazardous Offshore Environment

Working Safely including Safety Observations Systems

Understanding the Risk Assessment Process

Tasks that Require a Permit to Work

Personal Responsibility in Maintaining Asset Integrity

Use of Manual Handling Techniques every day

Controll of use of Hazardous Substances Offshore

Knowledge and Practices of Working at Height

Awareness of Mechanical Lifting Activities

Comunication of same standardised level of safety training and awareness

These courses have been established as a joint effort between the oil industry and the regulators to ensure that inexperience personnel become a treat to safety and operations in an offshore facility.

ZHANGYANAN's picture

Topic 26: The dangers associated with young and inexperienced workers in the workplace

For the young people or the person without working experience,
they learned more about the theoretical knowledge but practical little. When at
the beginning of the work, they may make some mistakes and even lead to serious
results. So, everyone who wants to take over a job or an assignment, they must
under a good treatment before working. Just like people who work on the
platform offshore, they must under a 3 months treatment before they get on the
platform. In case of some contingencies happen, people need some common sense
of how to deal with the accidents.

Zhang Yanan

ID: 51233945


Maxwell Otobo's picture

Young and inexperienced workers suffer higher rates of work related injuries than older and experienced workers. The dangers faced by these young and inexperienced workers in any industry include;

Slips, trips and falls: Causes of slips, trips and falls include; tape or removed extension cords in walkways, wrong footwear for a job site, objects left in walkways, substances on floor like food, grease, water, oil and other debris.

Lifting: a number of people suffer a back injury as a result of lifting objects in their workplace

Electricity: thousands of injuries and deaths every year are mostly linked to accidents involving electricity. Equipments that are faulty cause unsafe working conditions. Improper grounding, defective insulations and loose connections also make electrical equipment dangerous.

Trainings on topics such as proper lifting, working with or around electricity, slips trips and falls should be given to young inexperienced workers. Also, they should be given the right training as soon as they are recruited for certain occupations such as; use of dangerous chemicals, driving powered industrail trucks like fork lifts, power driven machinery (e.g bread slicers, food mixers) and the use of punch presses, rolling and blending machines etc.



Maxwell Otobo - 51122742

MSc. oil and gas engineering

leighmoreton's picture

Many companies in any industry today will tend to either employ people with the training required to work in the placement, or they provide the training before putting the employee into the work environment.  You are constantly hearing over the radio the safety courses for people wishing to work offshore and ususally when applying for a position as the course is manditory you will be funded by the company.

In my experience, whist at university I have held jobs with 4 different institutions, each ensured that I sat through the manditory fire, safety and security courses before starting the job, it is more commonly introduced now as an induction package for 'new-starts' in a job.

I therefore believe that any professional company should ensure that all of their new employees are fully prepared to operate in their new work environment safely, as this will prove to be more cost effective for the companies if no safety incidents occur.

Leigh Moreton
MSc Renewable Energy

Mark Haley's picture

I am a firm believer that new young blood into a company is a good way to get fresh ideas and a look at things with a different perspective. However, this is under the proviso that they have had the relevant safety training up to that point and do not become a hazard to themselves or others.

This inject of young inexperienced personnel becomes a problem when you start to dilute the experience in your work force. The problems start to arise when the company begins to alter its supervision practices to cope with the levels new people. When the pressure is on to keep on producing the results, managers will more often than not just change working practices and supervision structures to adapt to a new workforce, but in the process vastly increase the safety risks. I believe young and/or inexperienced workers are not inherently a danger themselves, it is when they start to dilute the overall experience levels and new working practices are implemented by managers to adapt to the dilution that dangers will start to arise.

I see this more and more in the aviation industry where an engineer will carry out a task which should then be independently checked by a more senior engineer with a minimum amount of experience. However, because we do not have that experience anymore, as it has become diluted over the years, the supervision task is pushed down the chain to someone with less experience. To begin with this type of practice might have been the exception but after a while it becomes the norm and thereby erodes safety margins that bit more.

A good balance of new and old is essential in every workforce, and maintaining that balance can be a fine art.

Mark Haley

Leziga Bakor's picture

I totally agree with Mark. Having inexperience workers in the workplace is not bad but they should be properly controlled as the future depends on them. If we do not have young people coming into the workplace, the older ones will retire after sometime and there will be no one left to work. Young and new people should not be injected into the workforce at a high rate and they should be properly trained and checked to see that know what they are taught before handling sensitive positions so as not to jeopardize the safety of operations in the workplace.

Leziga Bakor's picture

I totally agree with Mark. Having inexperience workers in the workplace is not bad but they should be properly controlled as the future depends on them. If we do not have young people coming into the workplace, the older ones will retire after sometime and there will be no one left to work. Young and new people should not be injected into the workforce at a high rate and they should be properly trained and checked to see that know what they are taught before handling sensitive positions so as not to jeopardize the safety of operations in the workplace.

Leziga Bakor's picture

There are certain dangers associated with young and inexperienced workers in the workplace. Some of the dangers incudes:
Poor competence: This comes from the fact that they are mostly inexperience in using the equipment in the workplace and as such they can make mistakes and cause accidents in the workplace.
Poor safety culture:  Inexperienced workers mostly are not used to the safety culture in the working environment and it may take them sometime to properly understand them. This can pose a threat to the safety of the inexperienced worker in that he is more likely to make a mistake by acting in a way which he or she should not act.
Poor knowledge of the working environment:  The young and inexperienced worker may not know the working environment very well. This can pose a threat in the event of an emergency; he or she may not be able to quickly move out of the workplace as he has not known his way around the workplace. 
This are just a few of the dangers associated with a new and inexperience worker in a workplace. This is not to say that new people should not be allowed to the work place but that when new people are brought in they should pass through a proper orientation. Also they should be given a guide to help them familiarise themselves with the equipment and the working environment so as to avoid them getting into trouble.

As everybody mentions here, workers expose to several hazards during working. I think -in addition to knowledge- experience plays an important role in the way one react when facing with hazardous potential and also not creating an accident by a small mistake. As a result, inexperienced employees as well as employers have some duties to ensure safety of the workplace. I have some recommendations in my mind to share:

  • Training:  I hardly believe that outcomes of "shortage of experience" can be eased to a large extent by "knowledge" of the existance of risk and how to deal with it which can not be achieved unless hard training.
  • Providing a simple statement of safety rules: It would be a good idea that every company have its own safety statement( other than HSE) regarding the ground of each job including a list of potential hazards and measures and mistakes which can lead to an accident.
  • Risk Control: Each employer has duty to control risk until it reaches to ALARP level. Otherwise, we should not ascribe the accidents to inexperienced workers.
  • Compliance with rules: this duty rests with young employers to comply with regulations. One good example can be the "NO WORK" statement that Siwei noted here.
  • Controling inexperienced workers: I think young workers should work under sepervision of senior students for a while.





It seems to be agreed that young people in the work place are potentially a
danger due to lack of experience, knowledge and understanding. It must be said
that this is not the case for all individuals but generally it is the case.

From a personal point of view in the work I do which currently is mainly design
work, I do at times complete a pieces of work without fully understanding it function,
or the functions which go into manufacturing that part. This lack of
knowledge has at times causes problems in my work, These tend to be picked
up during checking, however once or twice have been missed. This has caused
issues further down the line even as far as functioning the final product. Now
although this is not dangerous in the terms of physical danger it is a danger
to the company and there costing, not to mention my job!

When I look back on my issues I feel that some of them were things that I
would never have been able to be taught and I would only figure out by making
the mistake. This may be a costly mistake but would say that I have learned
from every one of my errors and that I have yet to repeat any of them.

What I am trying to say here is that, when someone is learning something new
there is always going to be errors, some of these errors may have been preventable
but there are also times when the mistakes need to be made before they are

I realise that in dangerous environments making that one mistake is not an
option but hopefully the dangerous lessons can be and are taught and learned


Thanks,  Liam Slaven

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Hello again,


In addition to my previous post and after reading some more
post I felt like I would send out my agreement about the issue where some young
workers are influence by older and experience workers and due to this the passing
on of bad habits occur.

In the time I have managed to witness and take part in the
assembly and test of the parts I design I have witnessed some very bad habits
which seem to have been passed on to younger workers. One which springs to mind
was during a pressure test of some pressure control equipment which was safely
in a test bay, a young worker entered the test bay and started to fiddle with
the pressure port to check it was secure. This was done with 15,000 PSI in the

He was quickly removed from the bay and questioned about his
actions, his first response was that another employee did it all the time and
he thought therefore it was safe. This was a clear example that the traits of
an older experience workers were passed onto a younger one, who put his own
life at risk as a consequence.

Youth is easily influence by the older and more experienced.
Good safe practise by influential employees transfers to the new inexperienced.

Thanks Liam Slaven

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Hani Shobaki's picture

As posts above have mentioned, there is a substantial injury rate in this group of workers. It has been said that the new, young worker is five times more likely to experience and injury at work (1). There are several reasons other than lack of training that I believe are factors contributing to this.

A younger, new worker is often keen to impress his new colleagues and may take on additional levels of workload, lifting objects in a dangerous manner. If this were to continue for a few weeks, a repetitive strain injury could be sustained. By experience, I have found younger people to be more willing to expose themselves to risk. Particularly if they are new, they might be more inclined to show off.

As well as initial risks, there are long-term risks too. It is more difficult for someone who is fit and healthy to consider long-term effects an importance to them. As they continue with these bad habits, over the years permanent injuries can be sustained.

That is why it is important that workers are trained thoroughly, and it is made clear what all the risks are involved with their operations. It is also necessary to monitor them, to make sure good techniques and procedures are followed until they are second nature.

1.SafetyXchange. New, Young And Inexperienced Workers. 2012 (accessed 01 Dec 2012)

Mehran Vakil's picture

There is no doubt that young and inexperienced resources may cause many hazardous events. So, under which circumstances we can decrease the amount of incidents caused by young and inexperienced workers?
After recruiting, they should be trained to meet the mentioned criteria. It would be better to undertake a sensitive occupation after gaining a sufficient year experiences (tdi.texas, 2005).
Moreover, managers should delegate experienced and skilled supervisors to be in charge of other workers. Supervisors must define and explain guideline and regulate the strict rule as a safety precaution to help workers in their workplace (Calsra, 2012).
Besides, (tdi,texas, 2005) says that personal protective equipment(PPE) and the manner of utilizing them could alleviate the number of fatality as well as injury. For instance, appropriate shoes or boots, glasses, hard hat and also respiratory protection can be exemplified as a PPE.
These schedules might be useful to mitigate the probabilities of risks and their impact and also provide a safe and secure atmosphere!
In conclusion I would like to cite that all managers, supervisors and workers (experienced and inexperienced) will support any efforts to bring about safe development in workplace (tdi.texas, 2005).

1)CALSRA. 2012. Inexperienced Workers [Online]. Available: [Accessed 5/12 2012].
2)TDI.TEXAS. 2005. Inexperienced Workers [Online]. Available: [Accessed 5/12 2012].


SanjayVyas's picture

Having inexperienced workers at site itself is an unsafe condition or a hazard and it is common phenomenon almost at all industries. A responsible organisation treats it as a challenge and takes appropriate steps to ensure that the worker is acclimatised to the culture safety which is safe to all workers and to entire organisation.

Management systems like ISO 14001, OSHAS 18001, etc. requires organisation to identify training needs that are associated with its occupational health, safety and environmental risks. It requires organisation to provide training, evaluate the effectiveness of the
training, and retain associated records. These systems make mandatory for organisations to establish, implement and maintain procedures to make worker aware of:

  • Emergency preparedness and response requirements.
  • Understanding of the working practices used in the organisation for which they work and potential HSE consequences of departure from specified procedures
  • Adequate knowledge of the hazards and failures of the equipment for which they are responsible
  • HSE consequences of their work activities/behaviour and benefits of improved personal HSE performance;

Training procedures generally take into account differing levels of responsibility, ability, language skills, literacy and risk.

References - Managing Competence for Safety Related System -HSE

Sanjay Vyas- Msc Safety and Reliability ID - 51234203

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