The Human Factors of
Process Safety and
Worker Empowerment in
the Offshore Oil Industry
PROCEEDINGS OF A WORKSHOP
Steve Olson and Heather Kreidler, Rapporteurs
Steering Committee on the Human Factors of Process Safety and
Worker Empowerment in the Offshore Oil Industry: A Workshop
Board on Human-Systems Integration
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
This activity was funded by the Gulf Research Program Fund. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-47334-7
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-47334-9
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25047
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2018). The Human Factors of Process Safety and Worker Empowerment in the Offshore Oil Industry: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/25047.
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STEERING COMMITTEE ON THE HUMAN FACTORS OF PROCESS SAFETY AND WORKER EMPOWERMENT IN THE OFFSHORE OIL INDUSTRY: A WORKSHOP
DAVID REMPEL (Chair), Department of Medicine (professor emeritus), University of California, San Francisco
LILLIAN ESPINOZA-GALA, LEG Exploration Education LLC; Society of Petroleum Engineers Evangeline Section and International Human Factors; and American Association of Drilling Engineers
RHONA FLIN, Industrial Psychology, Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University
PHILIP (PHIL) J. GROSSWEILER, Human Factors Technical Section, Society of Petroleum Engineers; Risk Management, LNG Projects, M&H Energy Services
LAUTRICE (MAC) MCLENDON, Safety and Environmental Gulf of Mexico, Shell Oil Company
NAJMEDIN (NAJM) MESHKATI, Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, USC Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California
STEVEN (STEVE) RAE, Global Transition; Independent Business Consultant; and Society of Petroleum Engineers and International Association of Drilling
RANDALL (RANDY) L. SAWYER, Environmental Health and Hazardous Materials, Contra Costa County, California Health Services Department
HEATHER KREIDLER, Study Director
TOBY M. WARDEN, Board Director
TINA LATIMER, Program Coordinator
BOARD ON HUMAN-SYSTEMS INTEGRATION
PASCALE CARAYON (Chair), College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin–Madison
JAMES BAGIAN (NAE/NAM), Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
ELLEN BASS, College of Computing and Informatics, Drexel University
DIANA BURLEY, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, George Washington University
SARA J. CZAJA, Center on Aging, University of Miami
BARBARA DOSHER, School of Social Sciences, University of California, Irvine
FRANCIS (FRANK) T. DURSO, School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology
ANDREW S. IMADA, A.S. Imada & Associates, Carmichael, CA
EDMOND ISRAELSKI, AbbVie, North Chicago, IL
NAJMEDIN MESHKATI, Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, USC Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California
FREDERICK OSWALD, Department of Psychology, Rice University
KARL S. PISTER, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley
DAVID REMPEL, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
EMILIE ROTH, Roth Cognitive Engineering, Stanford, CA
WILLIAM J. STRICKLAND, HumRRO, Alexandria, VA
MATTHEW WEINGER, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
TOBY M. WARDEN, Board Director
Since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil spill, efforts to improve safety in the offshore oil industry have resulted in the adoption of new technological controls, increased promotion of safety culture, and the adoption of new data collection systems to improve both safety and performance. As an essential element of a positive safety culture, operators and regulators are increasingly integrating strategies that empower workers to participate in process safety decisions that reduce hazards and improve safety. According to a report released jointly in 2016 by the Transportation Research Board and the Board on Human-Systems Integration of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine titled Strengthening the Safety Culture of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry, such safety advances are part of a gradual process as the industry changes “from one with a risk-taking attitude to one in which anyone can raise a safety concern or stop work on a job because of safety issues.”
While the human factors of personal safety (e.g., ensuring that workers wear appropriate personal protective equipment) have been studied and widely adopted in many high-risk industries, process safety—the application of engineering, design, and operative practices to address major hazard concerns—is less well understood from a human factors perspective, particularly in the offshore oil industry. Progress in advancing such process safety improvements in the offshore oil industry will require identifying, researching, developing, refining, and applying current scientific findings from the social and engineering sciences to ensure that workers are best prepared to recognize and act appropriately to mitigate hazards—in particular,
actualizing the ability for a worker to report problems to supervisors or regulators to prevent a dangerous outcome.
The workshop that is the subject of this proceedings was designed to synthesize scientific knowledge and explore best practices and lessons learned from other high-risk, high-reliability industries for the benefit of the research community and of citizens, industry practitioners, decision makers, and officials addressing safety in the offshore oil industry. The workshop location of Houston, Texas, allowed the workshop steering committee to structure the agenda to ensure a diversity of perspectives from both academic and industry representations via panels and audience participation. The committee hopes this proceedings and the engaging experience among workshop participants contribute to strengthening the community of stakeholders with a vested interest in offshore safety while leading to additional knowledge-building activities and subsequent positive progress in this area. There is future opportunity to consider additional workshops or consensus studies to advance research agendas for worker empowerment and process safety that both draw upon and advance the application of the social and behavioral sciences in working toward safer operations in the industry.
This Proceedings of a Workshop was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published proceedings as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Dave DeJoy, Workplace Health Group, Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, College of Public Health, University of Georgia; Ron McLeod, independent consultant; Roland L. Moreau, independent consultant; and Christiane Spitzmueller, Center for ADVANCING UH Faculty Success, Office of the Provost, University of Houston. Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by David H. Wegman, School of Health and Environment, University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this proceedings was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the rapporteurs and the National Academies.
I wish to express my deep appreciation to the members of the workshop steering committee for their diligent and dedicated contributions to
this workshop within an expedited time frame. The diverse expertise and experience offered by the committee members were indispensable to the development and conduct of the workshop. The committee also benefited greatly from the expertise of Ford Brett, a member of the Gulf Research Program Advisory Board, who acted as a consultant throughout the planning process. I wish also to thank the diverse group of workshop attendees whose years of experience, insights, and knowledge and active participation in the meeting were critical to producing this proceedings. Finally, on behalf of the entire committee, I wish to recognize the National Academies staff, whose expertise and skill were essential to our fulfilling our charge.
David Rempel, Chair
Steering Committee on the Human Factors of
Process Safety and Worker Empowerment in
the Offshore Oil Industry: A Workshop
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