Mark - Emergency Response Operator

Mark wearing headset and sitting at desk

Location: Emergency Response Service Centre, Aberdeen

Year joined in: 2013

What does your role involve?

As an Emergency Response Operator (ERO), I’m the first point of contact for any incidents or emergencies that occur on any client assets onshore or offshore.

The Emergency Response Service Centre (ERSC) is always on call – 24/7, 365 days a week. Every month we respond to a variety of calls – from muster drills and exercises, to real life incidents.

What skills do you need?

The ability to stay calm during an emergency is a vital skill, as is being able to work at pace and with close attention to detail. For example, there are many differences between client acronyms – a phrase which means one thing to one organisation can mean something completely different to another. Taking the information down incorrectly can have a huge impact.

Being a good communicator is important as well as being able to take in, and circulate, key information from multiple sources so that all stakeholders in an emergency are appropriately informed.

What’s an average day for you?

It’s difficult to predict your day as an ERO, however, during normal operations I spend the day conducting communications checks for clients and taking part in simulated exercises for onshore incident management teams and assets offshore.

I also review and update procedures to ensure that the ERSC is at a constant state of readiness, with the most accurate information. Naturally, when there is a client emergency, the ERO workload increases with mobilising appropriate response teams.

Tell us about your career journey at Petrofac

The ERO role has developed in the three years since I joined Petrofac. Initially the role was as an Operator, Action Keeper and Logistics Coordinator but EROs are now also more involved in process improvement. I’ve also been trained as an Onshore Safety Rep for the ERSC and have been a safety focal point assisting with safety inspections and risk assessments.

Have any of your previous jobs or experiences helped you in your role as an ERO?

Before joining Petrofac, I worked as a call handler for the National Health Service which involved responding to calls from the public and establishing the seriousness of the situation before seeking the appropriate services.

I’m also a Reservist in the Royal Navy and recently joined the Maritime Trade Operations branch which deals largely with shipping incidents and emergencies. The experience with these organisations has been extremely valuable in developing my skills as an ERO.

What is one of your biggest achievements whilst working for Petrofac?

I’ve recently completed a project to redesign the ERSC internal emergency notification procedures which are held for each client. We’ve streamlined and standardised all emergency procedures used by the EROs, ensuring we provide a consistent and professional response. It also means the ERO has the most relevant and accurate information immediately available when an emergency call is received.

What do you like most about your job?

I enjoy working with colleagues with vast and diverse experience in the emergency services, military and energy industries which contribute to a highly experienced workforce to engage with and learn from. My colleagues are always willing to share knowledge in order to increase the effectiveness of the team.

How does Petrofac support you in your role as an ERO?

When I joined Petrofac, I had to initially complete various training courses for the role. Since then, I’ve regularly taken part in client exercises (onshore and offshore), in each of the response roles that I carry out, as well as getting involved in internal exercises for emergencies and business continuity incidents.

I’ve been on training courses that provide a wider knowledge of emergency response such as DECC Level 3 (Onshore Emergency Responder Oil Spill Response) and Major Emergency Management Initial Response.

I’ve also completed the Association for Project Management (APM) Project Fundamentals qualification which has given me an insight into project management and has in turn helped in identifying and carrying out process improvements, something which is vital to the effective response of the ERSC.

What makes the ERSC unique to work in?

The ERSC is a small but highly competent team of individuals who bring in different skills. When an incident mobilisation is required, the support network from each responder team, and from the client incident management teams, turn the ERSC into a bustling environment able to provide excellent onshore support in an emergency - all whilst ensuring the ERSC day-to-day operations continue as normal.

Find out more about the Emergency Response Service Centre