Roles & responsibilities
An OPITO case study

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Page 4: Roles and responsibilities


To ensure employees work as efficiently as possible it is important to have clearly defined job roles and responsibilities. This is particularly important in large firms to ensure no part of the workload is overlooked. In smaller organisations job roles may be less structured as employees may be required to take on a variety of tasks and responsibilities.

Job descriptions

Clear job descriptions and personal remits enable workers to focus on their job-specific tasks. It allows employees to prioritise their workload and reduce the chance of work duplication. In the offshore environment, where safety is a key priority, defined roles and responsibilities ensure that workers are competent and qualified for the tasks they undertake.

Organisational structure and responsibility

The roles and responsibilities of each worker are overseen by supervisors, team leaders and managers. The number of workers that the supervisor is responsible for is called a span of control. The span of control will become wider as the number of employees being supervised increases. For example, an Offshore Installation Manager (OIM) is responsible for the complete running of the rig/platform and is accountable for the health and safety of everyone on-board. This means the OIM has a large span of control. However, a Tool Pusher, the department head in charge of the Drilling and Deck Crews, is accountable for the drilling staff and as such has a smaller span of control.


To allow for the supervision and management of workers organisations are divided by layers as well as department or functions. The smallest layer at the top of the organisational structure has more responsibility and accountability than the larger layers at the bottom. This forms an organisations hierarchy. A hierarchy establishes a chain of command. This allows information to be communicated from one layer of the organisation to the next. This information will pass through the span of control in each layer. An example of this is when important safety information is passed from the OIM, down through the hierarchy to the Technicians. All job roles, from geological exploration to human resources, will fall within a hierarchy.

OPITO | Roles & responsibilities