The Human Factor Process and Safety Report Released: SPE Board of Directors Publishes the First in a Series of Technical Reports on Risk and Safety in the Industry

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Houston, Texas, USA (1 April 2014) –The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Board of Directors has approved the publication of its first technical report titled “The Human Factor: Process Safety and Culture”, a report intended to provide guidance on the human factors risks in E&P operations, and what can be done to reduce those risks and increase safety.

The findings in this first technical report are based on discussions and conclusions made by a steering group of subject matter experts (SMEs) who attended a 2-day summit in July 2012 hosted by SPE. Technical reports are published when there is a clear need for either an evaluation of the state of technology or technical guidance on issues of importance to the industry.

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

The summit focused on human factors to create a common understanding of the strategic challenges for the oil and gas E&P industry, identify what is known and unknown in the field, and to explore possible actions to accomplish the needed change indicated by the U.S. National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling report.

About 70 participants in the summit represented a broad cross-section of the industry, with individuals from oil and gas major operators, national oil companies, smaller operators, major contractors, regulators, universities, and consulting organizations.  In anticipation of the summit, the steering committee developed six topics included in the technical report to springboard discussions with the SMEs including:

  • Defining the Scope of Human Factors
  • Safety
  • Training and Certification
  • Operational Control of Work
  • Decision-Making
  • Information Technology (IT)

Kenneth E. (Ken) Arnold, Senior Technical Advisor, 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.”

The Technical Reports will be a series of publications and available for download. For more information, please click here for technical reports section at


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