A SUITE of methodologies launched by DuPont Sustainable Solutions can help address technical skill shortages by training staff on the proper handling of hazardous materials.

The company’s Australia-based solutions architect Andrew Wilson said local ability to manage large hazardous assets, both aging and new, was constrained through these shortages, which he said was an unintended consequence of demographic change.

“Operational risk management is becoming ever more critical, especially in light of major industrial incidents across the globe where human error was shown to be a main contributing factor,” he said.

“Ammonia leaks from Orica Plant at Kooragang Island, the Pike River Mine Disaster in New Zealand, and the Hazelwood Mine Fire are some recent examples.”

The company’s operations leader, Damian Bassett, said while the system was not designed to teach people working in the petroleum sector about oil and gas, it could help address some gaps in competencies.

“Some groups are less interested (about matters) outside their core business stream,” he said.

The methodologies could help develop an understanding of what could potentially go wrong from a deviation in standard processes.

“We work with what the business is already doing – you would struggle to find one starting from scratch,” he said.

The key was to take existing strengths in some aspects of materials handling, and to bring them across the company.

But the DuPont package offered a structured learning experience offering a variety of options, ranging from simple problem-based training to integrated process safety management (PSM) learning and development.

It included a modular curriculum, instructor-led training and e-learning, institution based learning and occasional one on one training, as well as enabling training to be customised to develop skills in specific areas, as needed.

“A mixture of classroom based, eLearning and ‘on the job’ coaching by experienced consultants enables effective learning and development outcomes even in remote locations,” Mr Wilson said.