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Improving Offshore Workforce Productivity

Case Study

Occupational Health in Norway: Overcoming Offshore Workforce Absenteeism Challenges



An international deep-water drilling organisation operating in the energy industry in Norway was looking for urgent support and occupational health expertise. Their offshore workforce’s sick leaves were affecting productivity and operational costs. Our Norwegian team of Occupational Health Professionals worked closely with the organisational HR and people managers offshore. The team set up and delivered a comprehensive absence management process which allowed them to control and reduce sickness and injury absence, improve workforce productivity, and save costs.


The deep-water drilling organisation was facing high sick leave numbers among its offshore workforce and high staff turnover as a result. The dynamics around the data on workers’ replacement and overtime to cover for sick absence was worrying. In addition, the organisational HR resources that should have allowed for proper sick leave follow-up lacked the necessary training to execute absence management effectively.


Our Occupational Health Experts in Norway reviewed all open sick leaves on a case-by-case basis to ensure proper treatment was ongoing, referrals were in place and other necessary steps were being taken. They put regular review meetings in place to cover new and existing cases and provided sick leave and absence management training to HR specialists, people managers, and offshore supervisors. The training covered areas such as how to deal with employees who are not coming to work and what to expect when employees undergo treatment and rehabilitation.

The programme achieved a 17% reduction in sick leave incidence in just three weeks; within two months sick leave had reduced to half the initial figure.


International SOS's solution enabled the deep-water drilling organisation to save costs and overtime as sick leaves among their offshore workforce went down significantly: a 17% reduction in sick leave incidence in just three weeks; within two months sick leave had reduced to half the initial figure. The HR and people managers' training, including those working offshore, was key. This has ensured that the right process and resources are in place to manage the cases moving forward. In addition, the established process of following up on the proper treatment and referrals has contributed to strengthening the organisation’s Duty of Care and has increased offshore workforce job engagement and satisfaction.