Some R&D for general safety that is not necessarily tied into specific operating companies can be done by outside organizations. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)12 and SINTEF13 provide possible analogs of how outside organizations can successfully contribute to safety improvement in industry. Creation of industry, academic, and government consortia and collaborative R&D centers of excellence can also significantly contribute to accomplishment of this goal.

As research efforts focused on the safety of offshore drilling operations have been relegated to manufacturers, contractors, and service providers, much less of that research is done by the operators. Furthermore, there is little coordination of system safety research associated with offshore drilling operations. Improved approaches are needed for assessing various safety-related scenarios and the associated risk levels before the occurrence of a relevant incident. Industrywide standards should be developed for quantitative risk assessment to be used explicitly as a management tool for evaluating the risks of alternative choices.

Education and Training

Summary Recommendation 5.3: Industry should undertake efforts to expand significantly the formal education and training of industry personnel engaged in offshore drilling to support proper implementation of system safety.

Recommendation 5.3a: Education of rig personnel early in their careers can be provided through a system similar to community or technical colleges.

Recommendation 5.3b: In addition to rig personnel, onshore personnel involved in overseeing or supporting rig-based operations should have sufficient understanding of the fundamental processes and risks involved.


12 EPRI is an independent company that conducts R&D relating to the generation, delivery, and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. For example, EPRI’s Risk and Safety Management Program conducts research for the development of a risk-informed framework for nuclear power plants. Most recently accessed Jan. 17, 2012.

13 SINTEF (Stiftelsen for Industriell og Teknisk Forskning) is an independent research organization based in Scandinavia that conducts research on technology, medicine, and the social sciences. One of SINTEF's primary objectives is to provide a better in-depth understanding of how to assess, monitor, and control safety and reliability. Most recently accessed Jan. 17, 2012.

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