SPE Publishes Technical Report on Safety Culture

By SPE Staff 31 Mar 2014

The SPE board of directors has approved the publication of its first technical report, The Human Factor: Process Safety and Culture, intended to provide guidance on the identification and mitigation of risks associated with human factors in upstream E&P operations. It’s available to members and nonmembers free at OnePetro.

The findings in the report are based on the discussions and conclusions made by a steering group of subject matter experts who attended a two-day summit in July 2012 hosted by SPE. Technical reports are published when there is a clear need for an evaluation of the state of technology or technical guidance on issues of importance to the industry.

Roland Moreau, HSSE-SR technical director, said, “This report is a great example of SPE working toward its mission of collecting, disseminating, and exchanging technical knowledge about our industry. It also effectively touches on SPE’s strategic objectives, including capability development, promoting professionalism, social responsibility, and educating the public.”

The summit’s goal was to create a common understanding of the challenges posed by human factors and their effects on safety, identify what is known and unknown in the field, and explore possible actions to accomplish the changes indicated in the US National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling report (PDF).

About 70 participants in the summit represented a cross section of the E&P industry, including individuals from oil and gas major operators, national oil companies, smaller operators, major contractors, regulators, universities, and consulting organizations. The six topics addressed in the report include:

Defining the scope of human factors

  • Safety
  • Training and certification
  • Operational control of work
  • Decision making
  • Information technology

Kenneth E. (Ken) Arnold, senior technical adviser at WorleyParsons, said, “We hope this technical report will help frame the discussion to improving each organization’s culture of safety. The key to increased safety is establishing that culture at every level of the organization, increasing the probability that people will make the correct decisions under stress with incomplete or conflicting data. This can only occur by considering the human factor, if we are going to take real steps to make changes in safety.”