Safety and Integrity in a Digital World - Part Two


This is the second in a series of three blog posts on worker competence

What do most of us think of when we hear the words "digital" and "safety" mentioned together? Most likely, safeguarding laptops, desktop PCs and corporate IT systems from viruses and cyber-attacks – an area in which a lot of time and money is invested. However, in a sector driven by an increasing focus on competence, skills and sustainable operations, the (secure) digital world can do much to ensure the safety and integrity of upstream oil and gas companies' physical assets.

Think back to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 – a prime example of how the actions of contractors, temporary or agency staff can affect the reputation of an operator. Indeed, increasingly stringent regulations are being introduced in this area, such as those from the US Department of Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). The BSEE recently announced that accountability for increased liabilities will be extended to incorporate contractors and service providers. In this dynamic and complex area, how can digital tools help to ensure that safety and integrity are maintained?

From an operational perspective, the performance of assets such as operating units, offshore platforms or specific process plant areas is typically measured as part of routine operations, with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) tracked for both good and bad performance. But a lot still depends, of course, on the competence of the people interacting with the asset.

What operators need to do is review the competence profiles of staff in order to pinpoint which competence profiles improve KPIs, and on the flip side which profiles drag them down. Competence profile requirements that improve KPIs can then be determined, and the importance of these can be highlighted and promoted around the organization.

Training courses and classroom learning modules, as well as technology such as an Operator Training Simulator (OTS), can all help in this process – provided they are set up correctly. For example, an OTS also needs to link to any competence management system and – ideally – the scenarios and procedures it covers should be ones that can be ranked (and the score then applied back to the competence management system).

The diagram below shows how this and other elements fit together into a coherent competence management system.

About the Author
Andy Coward is Senior Director, Business Solutions at P2 Energy Solutions.

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