Special Report: What We Have Learned From The Oil Spills

The Gulf Oil Spill has taught us that a spill is not a singular event but a series of  poor decisions; lax regulatory enforcement or maintenance;a lack of qualified/well-trained people and bottom line thinking. One question that I have been asked about this situation is “What have we learned that can help combat future oil spills” . Here are some of the things we have learned from the oil spill.

  1. America has received “crash” courses in petroleum and safety engineering, marine biology, forensics (accident reconstruction), geology, hazardous materials response and environmental engineering and was interested to hear more . One of the most interesting issues about all of these fields  is they are some of the very same fields where there are shortages of qualified people. Don’t believe me? (Search “petroleum” on Career Builder). I  have written numerous times about the growth predictions for STEM (Science, Technology and Mathematics), related jobs from www.bls.gov and other places. These opportunities are real and they will grow even more in the coming years as  more of the “Baby Boomer” workforce retires. It is my sincere hope that someone was influenced to look at these career fields as their future career choice.
  2. The Federal government needs more qualified inspectors for offshore energy facilities: Many news outlets including the Wall Street Journal and  Washington Post reported the fact that Mineral Materials Management Service (MMS) only had 60 inspectors to oversee 4,000 rigs. The testimony of Mary Kendall, the Inspector General highlighted the fact that inspectors received “On the job training” and that ” inspector training and training programs have not kept pace with the technological advancements occurring within the industry.” With that assessment and the impending overhaul of the agency, there will be some additional job opportunities with MMS for those who are interested in environmental, health & safety (EH&S) careers. The CSP or Certified Safety Professional is a great certification to have when looking at these job opportunities.
  3. The Oil & Gas industry, Federal Authorities and Gulf State governments will need an on-call cadre of cleanup workers: It is expected that the authorities and industry will put together a well-trained clean up task force for future spills to alleviate confusion and streamline operations in the future. However, training workers from scratch to clean up a hazardous material like oil is a huge undertaking which presents a host of problems. 40 hour HAZWOPER training is a good start but it is not enough. We can also expect these new workers to get advanced emergency management training such as incident command training as the government looks at ways to prepare for future incidents. Job seekers who want to be on the front lines of hazardous material clean up should look to get the Certified Hazardous Material Manager  (CHMM), Hazardous Material Manager in Training certifications (HMMT) or Certified Hazardous Materials Practitioner (CHMP). These certifications will give more in-depth knowledge on protocol and safety procedures.
  4. Environmental clean up technology companies will receive more investment to develop better technology.: We learned very quickly that our country does not have enough skimmers, booms, vacuums and other equipment to handle a large spill or other disaster of this type. Kevin Costner showed everyone that a great idea, some money and a lot of patience will do wonders for investments in oil clean up technology. You can expect investment to flow into these companies once the government agencies overhaul the regulations. Before you invest in any company make sure you understand the risks. 
  5. Safety Jobs will be hot: The federal government is in the process of overhauling the safety regulations which govern the oil & gas industry but the rule changes will also effect other industries who also use hazardous materials.  The affected companies will update their internal safety policies; step up training and enforcement. Look for Safety Training, Process Safety Management  and field safety positions to open up.

Oil Spill Coverage Over

This concludes Hinton Human Capital’s coverage of the oil spill. In the suggested reading I have provided links to other articles which will help job seekers to find opportunities in the hazardous materials response field.  I encourage readers to comment and ask questions.

Suggested Reading

Join Our Mailing List

3 Hot Environmental Certification of Oil Spill and Other Disasters

How to Leverage Your Oil Spill Clean up Experience Into a New Career

International Directory of Oil Spill Contractors


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