Center for Offshore Safety Announces 2023 Safety Leadership Award Winners

(Image credit: Center for Offshore Safety)

The Center for Offshore Safety (COS) has announced the winners of the 2023 Safety Leadership Awards during its Annual Safety Forum, held September 12 in Houston.

The awards honor companies that demonstrate outstanding leadership in developing safety management and performance practices. These practices and projects play an important role in advancing the culture of safety within the offshore industry.

“This year’s winners effectively leveraged research and industry experience, developing tools and processes to reduce risks and increase safety in offshore operations,” said COS Senior Director Russell Holmes. “The COS Safety Awards shine a spotlight on those efforts while providing a platform to share good practices, learn collectively and support the industry’s commitment to continuously improving safety.”

The 2023 Safety Leadership Award winners are:

Operator Category: Occidental, Advancing Heat Safety through Comprehensive Heat Stress Programs

As part of a targeted effort, Occidental (Oxy) developed the Oxy Heat Stress Program to protect workers from the health risks posed by extreme temperatures in offshore environments. The initiative targets operations exposed to high air temperatures, radiant heat sources, high humidity, direct physical contact with hot objects, and physically demanding activities that trigger heat stress. At the heart of the program is a metrics-driven approach that evaluates heat index values, work-to-rest ratios and water intake to address heat-related concerns. Through rigorous audits, monitoring and the deployment of heat stress aids, Oxy aims to reduce and mitigate heat incidents. Since its launch in 2020, the program has led to improvements in heat stress management metrics, along with a notable reduction in heat-related incidents. Several studies have revealed “best practices” that serve to continually refine the program’s effectiveness, enabling Oxy to introduce even more impactful safety enhancement measures.

Contractor Category: Valaris, Transforming Offshore New Hire Onboarding with Realistic Training

In response to the offshore drilling market rebounding in 2022 after a prolonged downturn, Valaris sought to onboard 1,600 new offshore employees. However, onboarding those unfamiliar with the offshore environment proved challenging. To address this, Valaris created an immersive “Valaris Basic Training” program. Rather than use traditional classroom orientations, the company repurposed one of its offshore assets into a training rig, offering recruits an authentic, hands-on experience of offshore life and work. Depending on their prior experience, new hires spend between four to 14 days on the rig, mentored by experienced personnel. As of September 2023, 400 new offshore employees had successfully completed the program without incurring any injuries. At the same time, the retention rate of new hires saw a significant boost, increasing by 50%.

Center for Offshore Safety logo 50089169Each year, the COS Board reviews all nominations, selecting finalists in both the operator and contractor categories. These finalists are then highlighted at the annual COS Forum held each fall, where their impactful contributions and program success are detailed and shared among members. During the Forum, both the Board and conference attendees cast votes to determine the winners.

This year’s award winners have been influential stakeholders on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for decades. Their contributions have been integral in advancing offshore safety.

The Center for Offshore Safety is an industry-led initiative established in 2011 to promote continuous safety improvement for offshore drilling, completions and operations. COS accomplishes this goal through effective leadership, communication, teamwork, disciplined management systems, and independent third-party auditing and certification. Learn more about COS and information on how to become a member at

API represents all segments of America’s natural gas and oil industry, which supports more than 11 million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of millions of Americans. Our approximately 600 members produce, process and distribute the majority of the nation’s energy, and participate in API Energy Excellence®, which is accelerating environmental and safety progress by fostering new technologies and transparent reporting. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization and has developed more than 800 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.

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