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Atlas first to be approved by ECITB for new course to reduce serious injuries and hydrocarbon releases

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Atlas has announced the launch of an innovative new course that will help lead to improved safety and reductions in hydrocarbon releases in the oil and gas industry. The Atlas Mechanical Joint Integrity (MJI) e-learning course is the first to be approved by the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB), delivering up-to-date training for oil and gas workers operating in safety critical roles. It provides onshore and offshore workers of varying experience with the underpinning knowledge to safely carry out specialist critical bolting work.


The course is designed to be a component of a larger suite of guidance, Mechanical Joint Integrity – Route to Competence, which was recently developed by Step Change in Safety, working with the ECITB. The e-learning component, developed by Atlas, supports the industry’s desire for ongoing performance development of workers to ensure competency in specialist critical bolting in order to conduct MJI operations to the highest standards.

Hydrocarbon releases are potential precursors to major incidents, which is why Step Change in Safety is leading the industry commitment to reducing the number by 50% by the end of March 2013 – with the ultimate goal being zero releases. A large part of the work being done across the industry to meet this target is in ensuring the competency of workers who are making, breaking and maintaining pipeline joints.

The Step Change guidance, compiled using best practice from across the industry, states the importance for employers to have a system in place to validate the competency of personnel operating in these safety critical roles and updating and refreshing the knowledge of trained personnel is recommended.

Atlas’ e-learning course also supports workers by providing them with the knowledge they need to successfully complete the new ECITB MJI Technical Test, which is the industry’s route to assessing the competency of the worker. The MJI refresher course consists of six mandatory and three specialist modules on hydraulically torqued bolted connections, hydraulically tensioned bolted connections and hand torque bolted connections.

Tony Featherstone, Director of Operations at ECITB said: “It’s highly important for the future of the oil and gas industry that we continue to improve performance in the assembly and maintenance of mechanical joints, reducing incidents and accidents. Step Change in Safety has set the target of reducing hydrocarbon releases by 50% by 2013, and the new ECITB MJI Standard will help the industry meet that target by improving training and competence of the workforce.

“We are delighted to approve Atlas as a new Training Provider for the ECITB. Their new MJI e-learning course supports best practice in the industry by providing existing, experienced workers with the relevant knowledge, updating them to the latest industry standard, which ensures the same high level of competency is set across the oil and gas sector.”

Atlas, CEO John Rowley said: “Technicians and engineers are literally responsible for ensuring the integrity of the nuts and bolts that hold everything together including high pressure systems, pipework and structural support. It is critical that these key people are trained to the highest standards. The Atlas e-learning course provides workers with the knowledge to safely carry out specialist critical bolting. The course, which benefits all levels of skilled personnel, allows employees to identify weaknesses in their current knowledge and skills prior to sitting the ECITB MJI Technical Test.

“We have been working closely with the ECITB and are delighted to be the first training company to have our e-learning course approved by the industry statutory body and awarding organisation to improve the safety performance of such operations. This course is also relevant to employees across sectors including nuclear, downstream, renewables, onshore, offshore, power generation and construction." 

Les Linklater, Team Leader at Step Change in Safety said: “As an industry, we must ensure we have the competence to identify hazards and properly control risks if we are to succeed in making the UK the safest place to work in the worldwide oil and gas industry. Competence is more than just training – it’s the active demonstration of knowledge, skills and behaviour. The work being done by Step Change’s Competence Steering Group in areas such as mechanical joint integrity defines the competency standards that should be met by anyone carrying out mechanical joint operations, bolted and small bore tubing. Widespread adoption of these competency standards across industry will play a vital role if we are to meet out target of a 50% hydrocarbon release reduction.”

Atlas is hosting a product launch event on Thursday 23rd August at their E-learning Centre, Aberdeen Energy Park with informative presentations from Blair Barclay, ECITB and Les Linklater of Step Change in Safety, on the new ECITB MJI Technical Training Standards and their importance to industry.

For more information on Atlas’ ECITB approved Mechanical Joint Integrity e learning course visit