Walid Sayed HassanenQatargas Operating Company Limited, Qatar
Title: A Comparative Study in Qatargas Medical Department: Impact of effective fitness to work programs on reduction of the Offshore Medical Evacuations
A significant number of offshore operations are carried out by Qatargas (QG) employees and contractors in multiple offshore locations, hence, people acutely ill require costly and risky Medical Evacuation (Medevac) undertaken by helicopter or boat.1 This study aimed to evaluate the impact of offshore fitness to work on reducing the number of preventable medevacs in QG compared to other oil and gas offshore organizations.
This is a retrospective review of medevac data (2018-2020) in Qatargas offshore locations in relation to the total yearly population. Employees’ records, human resource data and medical screening data were used as a dominator for the population. It included analysis of pre-employment medical examination, periodic medical examination, medical screening programs, occupational vaccination, and fitness to return to work programs.
During the 3-year period, 10 medevacs occurred for a total of 13,376 workers, resulting in a rate of 0.74 medevac case per 1000 workers (Figure 1). This rate is remarkable compared to similar studies in other oil and gas offshore industries (6.1/10002; 4/10003). While the rate of medevac that is limited to illnesses only will decline to 0.45/1000 in QG compared with higher rates for other similar industries (4.97/10002; 3.2/10003 ). In addition, we have evaluated retrospectively the medical records of the medevac cases to identify those due to a medical reason (not injuries/trauma). Among the 6 medical cases, 1 worker had a pre-existing medical condition. Another finding was that the average age of the 3 medical medevac cases due to suspicious chest pain was 57 years old. All medevacs were of males workers, mostly because of illnesses (60%) rather than trauma (40%) (Figure 2).
This study provides a new benchmark medevac rate (0.45/1000). A robust fitness to work in offshore program with adequate implementation of other preventive measures (e.g., vaccination) is effective in reducing the number of preventable medical medevacs from offshore remote locations and hence, reducing the cost of both medevacs and lost working hours.
Walid is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians since 2015 and has been working in Qatargas as the Doctor in Charge of Plant and Offshore Medical services since 2009. Walid authored and co-authored more than 20 papers in peer reviewed journals, key medical conferences, and symposia, most of which focused on modern trends and research in Occupational Medicine. Walid is certified in Healthcare Lean Six Sigma by University of Georgia in USA.