Offshore drilling rig safety has a critical place in oil and gas industry due to the number of hazards and accidents that constantly put at risk the lives of workers and health of ecosystem. But it doesn’t have to be complicated if the safety system is simplified in a few steps that are foundational to occupational safety and health.
In this article, we aim to do just that by helping HSE managers and professionals with 7 tips to improve your offshore drilling rig safety.
Safety starts with the mindset that is uphold by managers first so the workers and even subcontractors can follow. At managerial level, this mindset manifests itself as risk analysis and strategy review but at worker level, it is the attitude and behavior that changes.
Safety rules and regulations should be put at the point of performance where workers can constantly be reminded of them. It should be available online and on paper accompanied by best practices, news and updates.
Even regular safety meetings in the form of weekly or monthly interactive team discussions is necessary to create a culture of caring and protecting among team members. The constant exposure to safety reminders will change the attitude and behavior of workers reducing human error driven accidents.
These programs should be mandatory to make sure workers arrive on offshore oil platform well informed. Programs such as SafeGulf or IADC RigPass, make rig crew familiar with operational policies, rules and expectations. They learn the rules as well as how to make decisions based on protocols when emergencies occur.
Training should be an ongoing process when it comes to offshore drilling rig safety. It should cover instructions of all machinery and equipment as well as all procedures such as emergency exercises and evacuations. The correct use of tools and machinery should also be educated so premature failures or damages does not cause big incidents.
The importance of avoiding dangerous behaviors such as ergonomic mistakes, standing close to edges, entering red zones, smoking and using mobile phones should be explained so the workers know why certain behaviors are prohibited.
Create a culture of trust and respect so workers have no fear about consequences of reporting hazards and dangers they encounter at every corner of the site. They should feel free to ask for help when they need it and feel good about following rules.
A system of rewards will encourage workers to do just that. They should also have the right to stop work when a safety risk is detected. This process will prevent many catastrophic accidents such as explosions that often start with a small leak or early fire.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) are the best tools you have in offshore drilling rig safety. That is why they are mandatory even in situations that look low risk.
Crew members should be aware of the life saving benefits of PPE so they voluntarily wear them. Eye protection, hearing loss prevention, respiratory protection, hard hat, fire resistant clothing, fall protection, extreme temperature, gloves and steel-toed boots are essential for every operation.
With advancements in technology, there are new PPE that are task specific and full feature to maximize safety. From Geronimo line for Derrick man on monkey board to high tech gloves for drill pipe handling and respirators for chemical and particulate exposure, every piece of PPE is involved in protecting offshore rig crew.
Clean and orderly house keeping should be the normal culture of every offshore oil rig safety due to the high rate of accidents that are caused by small tools left on floor or fluids that make floors slippery or even objects falling from the above. All work area and pathways should be clear at all times to prevent trips, slips and falls not to mention being struck by objects.
AI is capable of detecting and notifying any house keeping rule violations that might lead to accidents and injuries. Rig crew will be notified to clean up their mess after each operation and open up pathways.
Regular maintenance should be an integral part of offshore drilling rig safety as machine malfunction is a major cause of fatal accidents. Integrity check of all equipment including sensors and detectors is an absolute essential to prevent premature failures. Replacing parts not only extends life span of machinery but also guarantees safe function during that time.
A comprehensive Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) should be planed and executed to avoid unexpected shutdowns that have devastating financial consequences. Well organized turnarounds can save time and budget as well as human life.
Offshore drilling rig safety can be improved if you apply the 7 tips offered in this article. They are the absolute essentials to prevent accidents. From orienting and training the mindset and behavior of all involved to effortless hazard reporting and effective equipment maintenance on regular basis, work place safety is an achievable goal in upstream oil industry that saves humans, environment and assets.
But an AI-based HSE management system is the next step you can take to optimize your offshore drilling rig safety. The machine learning capability will automate risk detection while CCTV cameras allow the artificial intelligence to supervise safety hazards and violations in real time. Intelligent HSE is the revolution offshore drilling rig managers have been waiting for to prevent accidents and losses.