This paper outlines the best practice approach used by Human Engineering in the marine oil and gas industry to provide competence assurance. It explores some of the challenges that were faced and the way these were overcome to provide an effective and pragmatic solution. In this context, competence is defined as “the ability to undertake responsibility and perform activities to a recognised standard on a regular basis” (HSE, 2002, pp. 2). Hence, to provide assurance of competence (i.e. to assess competence) a person’s performance must be measured against standards.

The client contacted Human Engineering because they were in the process of implementing new vessel technologies and integrating these with existing systems in novel ways. Furthermore, competence management had been identified as an issue for safety management within the organisation. It was recognised that system changes would alter operational and maintenance demands for ship and shore personnel.