Scotland-based industry skills body, OPITO will pilot a new standard in the North Sea, in an effort to reduce the risk of accidents and improve safety for elected safety representatives (ESRs) working on offshore oil and gas fields.

The new advanced standard has been designed to give training access to ESRs that will help them develop their effectiveness and confidence.

As part of the pilot program, risk management company DNV will deliver four, two-day pilot courses in Aberdeen, Scotland, in February and March 2013.

Volunteer delegates will get an opportunity to experience the latest development in safety training for the North Sea workforce during the course, said OPITO.

The courses will be introduced across the industry and will be made available to over 2000 ESRs, once the standard is approved.

Developed by ESRs and supported by OPITO, the new course has received encouragement from the Offshore Industry Advisory Committee’s (OIAC) Workforce Involvement Group, trade unions, Oil and Gas UK, and Step Change in Safety.

OPITO managing director Larraine Boorman said that safety representatives play an important role and have a positive impact on safety across the workplace.

"While training is required by law, evidence suggests that standards vary across the industry and in some cases, there is a lack of involvement by ESR’s in key areas," Boorman added.

"This new standard will help those in this critical role develop the confidence, understanding and skills to improve the safety culture for all."