BP | 21 March 2017

Video: Helicopter Downdraft Dangers

This video highlights the risk of helicopter downdraft, which is present when an aircraft is in close proximity to an installation. Downdraft exposure areas are explained along with procedures the installation can implement to mitigate the risk of approaching and departing helicopters.

Weatherford Brazil Facility Achieves API Q2 Certification

Weatherford International announced that its facility in Macaé, Brazil, has received API Specification Q2 certification. To gain certification, a facility must demonstrate a robust quality management system that assures personnel competency, risk assessment, contingency planning, and other key elements.

The Weatherford facility in Macaé, Brazil, has achieved API Specification Q2 certification. Credit: Weatherford.

The Macaé facility manufactures, services, supplies, installs, inspects, and distributes parts, equipment, and accessories used for oil and gas exploration and production. These products are used in formation evaluation, drilling, completion, intervention, and artificial lift operations throughout the country.

Read the full story here.

Read more about API Specification Q2 here.

Effective Software | 2 March 2017

Column: New EU Regulation on PPE Expected in 2018

The Health and Safety Executive reports that around 20,000 workers are suffering from work-related noise-induced hearing loss at any stage. When you consider those who have retired, the picture is even worse, with more than 70,000 people suffering from hearing loss caused by current or previous work.  Many more people face retirement unable to have a conversation in a noisy room.

The frustration with noise-induced hearing loss is that it is straightforward to prevent—don’t expose people to noise and they won’t lose their hearing or suffer from tinnitus. As with other hazards, reducing exposure should start by eliminating sources of noise, but, once an employer has bought quieter tools and provided collective means of protection, if there is a residual risk of hearing damage, hearing protection is essential. While legislation defines action and limit values, employers should remember the overall requirement that the risk of noise exposure is reduced to as low a level as is reasonably practicable.

Under the 2002 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulations (which implemented the earlier 1989 EU directive), three categories of PPE were defined. Tighter controls were expected of PPE defined as “of complex design intended to protect against mortal danger or against dangers that may seriously and irreversibly harm health” with the hazard groups to which this applied listed. These hazard groups included respiratory hazards, ionizing radiation, high and low temperature environments, electrical risks, and falls from height.

In March 2016, a new EU regulation on PPE was published that will come into force in April 2018. Note that April 2018 is before the anticipated earliest BREXIT date of March 2019, hence these new EU regulations will apply in the UK next year.  Even post-BREXIT, it is likely that the new requirements will be reflected in UK law through the Great Repeal Bill.

Read the full column here.

PSA | 24 February 2017

PSA Director General Urges Industry To Focus on Safety

PSA director general Anne Myhrvold has called on Norway’s petroleum industry to get safety developments back on track. “Words must become deeds,” she said. “The negative trend is going to be reversed, and we haven’t much time.”


The PSA has set an ambitious goal for 2017, which will require an extensive collective effort by the whole industry—reversing the trend.

Myhrvold explains the background for this choice of main issue for the year as follows: “We have a high level of health, safety, and the environment in this industry. There’s no doubt about that.

“Overall, however, we see that developments in the past 2 years have been characterized by safety challenges and serious events.

“Cost cuts appear to be a contributory factor. Now’s the time to reverse this trend.”

Read the full story here.

LinkedIn | 21 February 2017

Column: Safety Leadership Explained by Former Alcoa CEO Paul O’Neill (Video)

In 1987, Paul O’Neill gave his first speech to shareholders as chief executive officer (CEO) of Alcoa. What did he talk about? He talked about safety.

“Every year, numerous Alcoa workers are injured so badly that they miss a day of work,” O’Neill said. “Our safety record is better than the general American workforce, especially considering that our employees work with metals that are 1,500 degrees and machines that can rip a man’s arm off. But it’s not good enough. I intend to make Alcoa the safest company in America. I intend to go for zero injuries.”

The audience was bewildered. As Charles Duhigg relays in the Power of Habit, a furtive hand went up, asking about inventories.

“I’m not certain you heard me,” O’Neill said. “If you want to understand how Alcoa is doing, you need to look at our workplace safety figures.”

For the new CEO, safety trumped profits.

This video is from his presentation to the technical organization leadership of a consumer packaged goods company in 2012.


Sky-Futures | 16 February 2017

Sky-Futures Awarded 3-Year Global Contract To Inspect Eni Facilities

Sky-Futures, a drone-based technology company, has been awarded a 3-year contract to inspect Eni facilities globally.

Eni operates in 66 countries. This global contract is the first of its kind between a drone-based technology business and an international oil and gas company and represents a significant shift in the oil and gas market.

James Harrison, chief executive officer and cofounder of Sky-Futures, said, “By partnering with Eni, we can further enhance the benefits on offer by analyzing and forecasting operational issues before they happen.”

Sky-Futures offers drone data capture, inspection analysis, and visualization technology, enabling clients to operate more safely, efficiently, and cost effectively. By analyzing data and delivering standardized and quality-assured reports in Sky-Futures’ Expanse software, it is possible for stakeholders to access the latest information on their assets immediately, securely, and from anywhere in the world through the cloud.

Read about Sky-Futures here.

BSEE | 16 February 2017

BSEE Inspects Hess’s Stampede Topsides

Hess’s Stampede tension-leg platform moved one step closer to production on 15 February following completion of the 5–8 February initial preproduction inspection of the topsides by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) at the Kiewit shipyard in Ingleside, Texas. Before operations can begin on any oil and gas production platform in the Gulf of Mexico, BSEE’s engineers and inspectors conduct a preproduction inspection of the topsides, which is the portion of the platform where numerous production processes take place and workers reside.

“BSEE conducts these inspections because our role is to ensure that energy produced on the outer continental shelf is done safely, responsibly, and with the fewest impacts to the environment,” explained Amy Wilson, acting district manager of BSEE’s Houma District. “Our engineers and inspectors spend 3 to 4 days verifying that all safety equipment, design specifications, and submitted drawings comply with federal regulations.”

Hess’s new tension-leg platform will operate in 3,500 ft of water approximately 115 miles south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana, with production anticipated to start in 2018. Wilson said that companies typically have items that need to be corrected after the initial inspection, similar to any construction punch list, before they can begin production. The inspection process begins at the shipyard, but further inspections occur once the topsides are attached to the production facility structure and the facility is on location in the Gulf of Mexico.

Read the full story here.

Statoil | 15 February 2017

Statoil Signs Four Contracts for Emergency Vessels

Statoil awarded Simon Møkster Shipping contracts for three emergency response and rescue vessels and Havila Shipping a contract for one. The contacts have a total value, including options, of NOK 2.7 billion (approximately USD 324 million). The vessels will be part of Statoil’s areawide emergency response on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).

The Stril Poseidon is a rapid response rescue vessel from Simon Møkster Shipping used by Statoil. Credit: Statoil.

The emergency response vessels play an important role in addressing government authorities’ and the company’s own requirements for rescue, hospital, fire-fighting, emergency towing, and oil spill preparedness.

“Statoil has an extensive emergency preparedness system on the NCS, and, through the contracts, we have secured four vessels that are tailored to our waters. I look forward to continuing our long-standing and good partnership with Simon Møkster Shipping and Havila Shipping,” said Philippe F. Mathieu, Statoil’s senior vice president for joint operations support.

Read the full story here.

IPIECA | 10 February 2017

IPIECA-IOGP Oil Spill Response Joint Industry Project Nears End

For 30 years, IPIECA has been working to harness the oil and gas industry’s collective expertise and technology on oil spill preparedness and response. As part of this work, for the past 5 years, IPIECA and the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) have collaboratively worked on an oil spill response joint industry project (OSR-JIP).The Macondo oil spill accident and other similar incidents, such as the Montara incident that took place in the Timor Sea off the northern coast of Western Australia, have had far-reaching consequences in prompting the re-examination by industry not only of operational aspects of offshore operations but also of an operator’s ability to respond in the event of an oil spill or blowout.

The OSR-JIP was established in response to the April 2010 Macondo oil spill and was tasked with identifying learning opportunities from the response to the incident. The OSR-JIP was managed by IPIECA on behalf of IOGP in recognition of its long-standing experience with oil spill response matters and was officially formed in December 2011. It is now in a process of drawing all the work to a close, and work is expected to be complete by end-June 2017.

Read the full story here.

LinkedIn | 10 February 2017

Column: Safety Leadership—Below the Waterline


Recently, I read an “In Court” article in the Safety & Health Practitioner online magazine where three construction companies were found to be complicit in the death of Rafal Myslim. Intrigued, I then started browsing through the 64 other pages of the “In Court” articles. Each of these pages contains at least 30 different articles covering various fatalities, serious injuries, and occupational disease, in addition to details on company directors and owners being prosecuted over a failure to discharge his or her duties in a fit and proper manner. These articles go from where we are today back through to 2004; that’s 1,920 articles over a 13-year period. It makes quite sobering reading.

What is most interesting is that, when you start to analyze the information provided rather than just browsing through, what starts to appear is a rather bleak picture of the challenge that we all face. Now, although these articles cover just the United Kingdom, the issues that they highlight will resonate with others elsewhere in the world. Fundamentally, though, and the reason for this article, most companies featured in the “In Court” articles are predominately small to medium enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are categorized as those that employ up to but no more than 249 people.

It is now more than 40 years since the implementation of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974, the United Kingdom’s primary workplace safety legislation. Since that time, we have gone through factory inspectors with clipboards, workplace regulatory compliance, behavior-based safety, targeted measures, cardinal rules, curves, and doing things differently, in addition to spending millions on courses, books, lectures, journals, magazines, and pretty much anything else we can think of to keep the wolf away from the workplace safety door.

Considering this and the information provided by the online magazine further, I am reminded of the saying that usually gets trotted out when we talk about the current state of workplace accidents: “We have achieved much, but there is still so much more to do.” This is true, but, when we consider the complex and diverse range of the companies that are highlighted in the “In Court” articles gathered over this 13 year period, “still much more to do” becomes a very general, if not glib, statement, which, in reality, and if we are honest with ourselves, should now be bolstered with the additional “how, where, when, with whom, and with what.”

Read the full column here.

LinkedIn | 2 February 2017

Column: Understanding the Fundamentals of Behavior-Based Safety

Behavior-based safety (BBS) or behavioral safety is the use of behavioral psychology to improve and encourage safety at work. It may be aligned with a company’s safety management system or safety observation system. Those in the industry who know about BBS usually are on either side of the fence about it; meaning they are either supportive and believe in it or just do not believe in BBS at all.

Shervan Soogrim

BBS can be effective if properly implemented. A well-designed BBS program, if not implemented correctly, only looks good on paper or presentations but will be ineffective. Implementation can be challenging, as I have come to know myself recently.

Management support and buy-in of the BBS program is key for it to be successfully implemented. Furthermore, to show management’s commitment, we should take responsibility to communicate the program throughout the organization and to be involved as well.

This brings me to communication; the BBS program should be communicated to all levels of the organization and to all departments, not only the technical and operation departments. How it is communicated is also key. Several channels and methods should be used, with some targeting specific departments.

Read the full column here.

ProAct Safety | 27 January 2017

Column: BBS—Silver Bullet or Outdated Thinking?

Behavior-based safety, or BBS, has its disciples and its critics. It has been called the silver bullet of safety, and it has also been labeled as yesterday’s thinking. Based on the evidence, it is neither. If it were really a silver bullet, the organizations using it would be accident-free. If it were truly old and dead, it would have been abandoned by previous users and would not be attracting new ones. So, if BBS is neither magic nor dead, what is it? The answer to this question depends heavily on how you use it.

Although virtually all things called BBS attempt to address safety-related behaviors, they address different behaviors in different ways. Some processes attempt to address many or all behaviors, while others focus on a critical few. Some overlap with rules and procedures, while others only address discretionary behaviors. Some attempt to stop at-risk behaviors, while others attempt to encourage safe behaviors or precautions. Some are based on the old thinking of behaviorism, while others have adopted methods from the more advanced behavioral sciences and other approaches to human behavior and culture.

All these have one commonality: If they replace other more traditional safety efforts, they inevitably fail; and, if they support and supplement other safety efforts, they often succeed. This suggests the true role of BBS is not as a magical, silver bullet but simply another tool in the safety tool box. To see how best to use such a tool, it is helpful to assess the job at hand for which the tool is going to be used. This job is safety improvement.