Changes to the Safe Supervisor Competence Program (SSCP)

2 November 2015
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Significant changes to the Safe Supervisor Competence Program took effect on 1 November 2015.

Key changes

The SSCP remains as a guideline for developing safe and competent frontline supervisors.

SSCP is available to any prospective and existing supervisors or frontline leaders in the oil and gas industry – it will no longer be limited to the offshore construction and installation sector.

To obtain an SSCP card, participants must now demonstrate safety leadership behaviours in a work-simulated training environment with an approved SSCP training organisation.  They will no longer have to be assessed in on-the-job-observations.

SSCP cards will be issued by approved training organisations (not by APPEA).

SSCP is being re-established as an entry-level program, providing a benchmark for common safety leadership skills across the Australian oil and gas industry.  Companies can also use it to help select personnel best suited to move into more extensive in-house supervisory training.

Students who undertook training with an approved training organisation but have yet to demonstrate workplace behaviours will be automatically issued with a card under the new arrangements shortly after 1 November.

Industry estimated that about 200 offshore construction and installation workers would act in supervisory roles, and these personnel would be required to undertake the SSCP training and on-the-job observations and obtain an SSCP card.

SSCP has achieved this target. Since 2011, more than 520 personnel have undertaken formal SSCP training, and 234 supervisors have been issued with SSCP cards after completing on-the-job observations.

Why and how SSCP will change

With the offshore oil and gas industry now moving out of the construction phase and into production, the Industry Advisory Group has reviewed the SSCP and considered its future.

Consultation with industry has confirmed that:

  1. The program’s safety leadership content is considered to be excellent.
  2. There is demand for a common benchmark for safety leadership skills.
  3. The on-the-job component of SSCP is far too complex and costly.

The Industry Advisory Group has decided to continue the SSCP and retain its safety leadership content. But the program will be made available to everyone in the oil and gas industry (not just construction and installation) and will be streamlined by removing its workplace on-the-job requirements.

As of 1 November, people undertaking the SSCP Program will no longer need to complete on-the-job observations in order to receive an SSCP card.  Instead, all SSCP participants will be required to successfully demonstrate safety leadership behaviours to an approved SSCP training organisation in a simulated training environment. The SSCP card will now be issued by that approved training organisation.

For more information please contact Robert Bell, at [email protected] 


SSCP was launched in June 2011. Its mandate was to improve the Australia’s offshore oil and gas construction and installation sector’s safety performance in a period of unprecedented activity.

The program provides a common training and assessment program for supervisors in the offshore construction industry. Its scope included the ‘black trades’ (scaffolding, rigging, welding, crane operations etc.), installation marine, ROV and diving occupations.

Supervisors are critical in transmitting safety messages and culture to the workforce.  But supervisors are often selected for technical skills rather than leadership and safety skills. In addition, the offshore oil and gas construction workforce has a high turnover – staff regularly change employers; projects come and go rapidly; and a supervisor on one job may become a worker on the next job.

SSCP addressed these issues by setting a common industry benchmark and reducing the need for costly retraining of supervisors across projects and companies.

APPEA agreed to own and administer the SSCP on behalf of industry, and established an Industry Advisory Group and an Independent Reviewer to oversee the implementation and governance of the program.  The Industry Advisory Group approved two training organisations – ERGT and IFAP – to provide the training component.