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A Brief History

Since the late 1990s, DROPS has evolved and developed becoming a widely acknowledged global resource in dropped object prevention. Here’s a ’potted’ history for your information:


As part of a UK Oil and Gas safety initiative known as “Step Change in Safety”, studies were made into key areas requiring improvement in our Industry. Among the raft of focus areas identified was that of dropped object prevention. To look into the subject, a small workgroup was formed comprising several operators (BP, Shell, ExxonMobil etc) and several drilling contractors (KCA Deutag, GSF etc). The group ientified the drilling sector and in particular the derrick as the source of most dropped object incidents.

They recognised that the problem was huge and not restricted to the UK. Feeling restricted under the “Step Change in Safety” banner, they agreed to establish an independent workgroup and they sought assistance with the implementation and facilitation of the new international workgroup.


The DROPS Workgroup was duly established. The mission was agreed – “to ultimately deliver a permanent and ’second nature’ dropped objects prevention strategy within the Drilling sector”. A structure and operating model was established for the group. This saw BP initially take the helm and the group’s focus was on identifying best practice. Around 20 companies formed the membership. Regular forums were held and small action groups formed to identify and implement improvements in the Drilling Sector.


A pilot inspection and management system developed by BP and KCA Deutag was recognised as an excellent way forward and this became the basis of the DROPS Management System we still have today, ie derrick zones, inventory, control and mitigation measures, inspection checks, picture books, review and improve. The guidelines were duly published and made available throughout the Industry.


Still focused solely on the Drilling Sector, DROPS buy-in and membership steadily grew and began to embrace other European regions with new members joining, including Statoil, Maersk, Norske Hydro etc. The model of regular forums and small action groups looking at individual improvements continued and many new DROPS products emerged from the Group… DROPS Calculator (from Shell’s Dutch research centre)… Tools at Height Toolkits and Procedures (KCA and Snap-on)… Tour of Duty Workshop, Poster Campaigns, Checklists, etc.


Statistics showed that the efforts made had delivered significant improvements in the drilling sector – Drilling was no longer the worst performing sector! DROPS recognised that the focus had to change from Drilling only to cover all operations. The Chevron/DROPS “Through the Supply Chain Roadmap” was developed highlighting the challenges in every phase of our supply chain. Emphasis slowly began to change from Static to Dynamic dropped objects, eg collisions, interference, moving equipment, cargo handling.

Now with a membership of around 40 companies, a Steering Committee of 8, DROPS focused on all sectors of the Industry and not just Drilling. The emerging new DROPS products had far broader impact, eg DROPS Roadmap, Forklift Pocket Dangers, Cargo Handling Guidelines, etc. Through the efforts of Statoil, our Reliable Securing standard was published, for the first time giving recommendations and best practice for the primary AND secondary retention of equipment held at height. Importantly, the requirements could be fed back to designers and manufacturers such that new equipment arrived with secondary retention provisions.

2007- 2009

The DROPS Training course was launched, delivered and cascaded throughout the membership and beyond. Facing similar problems to our Industry, the Marine Sector began to engage with DROPS with new marine members joining and a new cross-industry exchange opening. DROPS put emphasis on showcasing technologies and products that can help us improve, eg Go Home Safe Workshops, Safe Bolting Technologies,

The focus turned to globalising DROPS across all regions of the world. DROPS Forums were hosted in USA and in Asia. DROPS Training was also brought to USA and Asia and momentum in these regions truly began, with many new members joining from both areas (membership exceeds 80 companies). Independent groups for DROPS USA and DROPS Asia were established, both with their own Steering Committees and objectives, to bring regional direction and focus on the DROPS movement. Products emerging from DROPS included the updated Reliable Securing Standard, SGB’s Cost of Accidents DVD, the Hazard Hunt toolkit, Rogues’ Galleries etc.


DROPS (Global) focus on Common Inspection Standards and Seasonal DROPS Campaigns. DROPS USA and DROPS Asia formally kick-off their programme of Forums and events. 

DROPS introduce the programme to the Middle East Region, and pursue opportunities for exchanges and shared learnings across other regions and industries.

Membership now exceeds 120 with most new member companies emerging from beyond Europe. Several Associate members mark the stronger ties with other industry bodies and related industries, eg construction, lifting, logistics etc.


DROPS training spreads worldwide, with DROPS Train-the-Trainer courses delivered regularly in all regions. Cascading from this, Company and asset-specific dropped object prevention training grows on a global basis.

DROPS Asia host numerous events throughout the Region, including China, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea and Singapore.  Hundreds attended each event, demonstrating the huge appetite and support for dropped object prevention. 

Membership exceeds 160 and reflects the global diversity of the DROPS campaign. DROPS offer greater variety of translated DROPS materials, including best practices, awareness posters and reliable securing booklets in several languages.

DROPS Campaign Pack annual updates go digital, affording DROPS members and pack subscribers access to the full portfolio and historic catalogue of DROPS materials.

DROPS publish Revision 3 of Reliable Securing booklet with 50% more content.


DROPS website overhaul and relaunch with member promotions and enhanced communications systems.

DROPS Train the Trainer : content updated, enhanced and extended. Worldwide schedule of training events and customised asset-specific training sessions deliver opportunity to cascade the materials further afield.

DROPS digital Rogues Gallery developed and issued, replacing previous static displays in regional heliports.

Diamond Offshore welcomed to DROPS Global Steering Committee, DROPS membership reaches 200.


DROPS Reliable Securing (Revision 4) Workgroup established to review and update DROPS Best Practice guidance.

Closer collaboration with Industry bodies and associations, including IADC, SfS, LEEA, IRATA and the Certifying Authorities. Wider interest shown in DROPS by other industry sectors.

200 attend DROPS Middle East Forum in Dubai (March).

Repsol Sinopec welcomed to DROPS Global Steering Committee.

Marketing support extended to include DROPS promotional materials, banners and activities, available for DROPS member use at events.

DROPS North America Chapter reinvigorated with an Operator-led Steering Committee, focusing on the development of a DROPS Standard Reference document.

North America Chapter host a major DROPS Forum event in Houston (November).


Broader industry engagement with Renewables Sector.

Publication of DROPS Recommended Practice, a concise guide to establishing Dropped Object Prevention schemes.

Establishment of Regional Chapters in Saudi Arabia and Sultanate of Oman.