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My Picks for Read and Learn: The Role of Culture, Choices, Human Factors, and Fatigue in Safety

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As I have mentioned before in my introductions to OGF’s technical synopses, one of the advantages of being the technical paper editor is that it encourages me to read at least one or two SPE papers every week. Only in doing so can I select papers for this section, but in the process I am learning about all kinds of things. And hopefully, by presenting you with synopses of various technical papers, I encourage you to do the same: read and learn.

SPE has a great tool to help you do just that: OnePetro. It gives you access to all SPE papers (as well as those of numerous other organizations) and it can also be a very cost-effective way to attend a conference when you are unable to attend. The papers accepted for each SPE conference are available through OnePetro and that way you can find out what was presented. I make use of this option frequently, and that is how I “attended” the 2018 SPE Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility Conference in Abu Dhabi. From the papers that were presented there, I selected three.

The first paper (SPE-190594) talks about what it takes to create a “just culture … where issues can be discussed freely and underlying causes investigated and corrected without fear of punitive actions.” This is the opposite of the “blame culture” we encounter so often when dealing with incidents.

The second covers a safety program of an international contractor (SPE 190518), but what really caught my eye was the title: “Choice, Not Chance …,” which was meant to drive home that people should make a positive choice—one that rejects chance, and thus do not take chances.

The same contractor is also applying “human factors engineering” during the construction phase (SPE 190513), which takes into account the interactions between workers, the tools, and the work site to define the controls required to improve human performance.

These three papers provide food for thought and contain insights that all of us can apply in our daily life and also share with others.

To complete this roundup, I also selected one paper from the 2018 Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition that dealt with another safety aspect: fatigue risk management. In this paper (SPE 193418), the authors state that “it is imperative that the industry recognizes the threat posed by fatigue and put the right measures in place to minimize the associated risks. Something that makes perfect sense, just like the “just culture”, the “choice, not chance” approach, and the application of human factors engineering. So please, read and learn.

Stopping the Blame Game in Safety Incidents

Managing Fatigue To Reduce Risk and Improve Work Culture

Integrating Human Factor Engineering in Construction and Fabrication

Safety Campaign Reduces Dropped-Object Incidents


Gerald Verbeek, Verbeek Management Services, has served as the Oil and Gas Facilities’ technical paper editor since 2013. He can be reached at gverbeek@verbeekservices.com.

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