Safety
Offshore Energy Today | 29 September 2016

DNV GL Puts Out New Air Gap Guidelines After COSLInnovator Accident

Following a fatal accident involving the COSLInnovator rig on 30 December 2015, some 100 semisubmersible rigs approved by DNV GL will be reviewed.

DNV GL puts out new air gap guidelines after COSLInnovator accident.

DNV GL puts out new air gap guidelines after COSLInnovator accident.

According to DNV GL, a classification body that certifies semisubmersible rigs, preliminary assessments indicate that a limited number of rigs will be subjected to modifications or operational limitations.

The semisubmersible rig COSLInnovator was drilling for Statoil in the Troll field when it was hit by a large, steep wave. Several windows on the rig’s two lower decks were shattered, and one person was killed.

“Since the incident, we have made great efforts to identify what happened, understand how this could happen, and, most importantly, implement actions to prevent similar incidents from occurring again,” said Ernst Meyer, DNV GL director for offshore classification. “We have been working with rig owners, designers, operators, and authorities towards a common goal: to ensure the safety of all those working on board the rigs.”

Rigzone | 23 September 2016

Statoil Plans To Improve Helicopter Safety Following Fatal Crash

Statoil has vowed to improve helicopter safety following the release of an investigation into a fatal helicopter crash, which occurred 18 April as the vehicle was carrying 13 workers from the Gullfaks B oil platform to the Bergen airport on the west coast of Norway.

Statoil has vowed to improve helicopter safety following the release of an investigation into a fatal helicopter crash that occurred on the Norwegian continental shelf earlier this year. Credit: Rigzone.

Statoil has vowed to improve helicopter safety following the release of an investigation into a fatal helicopter crash that occurred on the Norwegian continental shelf earlier this year. Credit: Rigzone.

In May, Statoil decided to conduct an in-house investigation to identify measures to improve Statoil’s helicopter safety work on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) and to learn from the emergency response to the accident.

The investigation concluded that Statoil’s helicopter safety work on the NCS is good but stressed that the industry’s efficiency improvement efforts and increased focus on costs must not compromise safety. Statoil also emphasized that a possible introduction in Norway of common European safety requirements could change the risk picture associated with helicopter operations.

“We will follow up on the recommendations given by the investigation to enhance Statoil’s helicopter safety and emergency response,” said Statoil Chief Operating Officer Anders Opedal.

“Our clear ambition is to maintain our leading role in further developing and enhancing the existing helicopter safety standard. The report provides a good basis for ensuring an optimal organization and holistic approach to this,” he added.

ProAct Safety | 15 September 2016

Column: Quit Preventing Accidents and Start Creating Value

If you charged a membership fee to participate in your safety programs, how many of your workers would voluntarily pay? The answer to this question is a glimpse into the perceived value of your safety efforts. All too many safety programs view the worker as the problem that must be controlled. They try to control workers through imposing rules and procedures, modifying their behavior, dictating the formation of their safety culture, and attempting to get them engaged. What if, on the other hand, we viewed the workers as the customers of safety and tried to add value to their efforts by providing resources and programs that met or exceeded their safety needs?

Rigzone | 12 September 2016

Offshore Norway Rigs Could Require Safety Modifications

Floating oil and gas rigs offshore Norway could require safety modifications following a fatal incident on the Norwegian Continental Shelf in December last year, according to DNV GL.

Floating oil and gas rigs offshore Norway could require safety modifications following a fatal incident on the Norwegian Continental Shelf in December last year, according to DNV GL. Credit: Rigzone.

One person was killed and four injured when the COSLInnovator was struck by a wave on 30 December, damaging its living quarters in the process. The wave struck the unit on the port side of the front bulkhead of the forward box girder and smashed 17 windows, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway reported earlier this year.

In order to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future, several companies, including DNV GL, teamed up to find out exactly what happened during the event, what improvements are needed, and how to implement these improvements.

So far, issues have been raised surrounding air gaps, which comprise the distance between the underside of a rig’s lowest deck and the highest wave crest. Certain rigs that classify as having a negative air gap could be made to undergo some changes.

Hydrocarbon Processing | 7 September 2016

Review of the Chemical Safety Board Report on the 2010 Tesoro Refinery Fire

On 2 April 2010, a catastrophic fire occurred within the naphtha hydrotreating unit in the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington. An internal investigation by Tesoro personnel was issued on 21 July 2011. The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a draft report for public comments in January 2014. The final CSB report, including recommendations, was issued in May 2014, more than 4 years after the incident that resulted in the tragic loss of seven lives.

The resulting CSB recommendations will improve industry safety performance only if the true root causes of the incident are discovered and if appropriate recommendations are developed and implemented by other sites. This work critically reviews the CSB analysis of this incident and several of its resulting recommendations. The review is based on information contained in the CSB report and backup information available on the CSB website; the online text of the Tesoro internal incident investigation report; and the author’s 40-plus years of experience in the petroleum refining industry, including extensive research and development and troubleshooting experience in various aspects of hydroprocessing.

As detailed in both the Tesoro and CSB reports, the immediate cause of the fire was a catastrophic rupture of the shell of one of six feed effluent heat exchangers in the naphtha hydrotreating unit. The rupture released a combustible vapor cloud that autoignited. Subsequent analyses revealed that the shell had been weakened by high-temperature hydrogen attack (HTHA), a damage mechanism well-known to the industry. API Recommended Practice 941 (RP941) provides guidance in material selection to minimize the potential for HTHA. These recommendations are based on experimental studies of materials under simulated laboratory conditions and industry reports of material damage under actual operating conditions.

Based on heat exchanger model simulations, the CSB report concluded that the regions of damage within the heat exchanger shell generally operated at conditions that should not have been susceptible to HTHA, according to API RP941. The CSB report recommended alterations to the material selection criteria included in API RP941, commonly referred to as the Nelson curve. The CSB report also recommended increased industry regulatory oversight, including changes to the process hazard analysis (PHA) system. Several critical deficiencies in the CSB report that led to erroneous conclusions and recommendations are highlighted here.

Rigzone | 31 August 2016

Upstream Oil, Gas Companies Keep Exploring Benefits of UAVs

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s recent use of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), to help monitor the effect of their offshore operations on whales is one example of how upstream oil and gas companies are continuing to explore the potential that drones hold for upstream operations.

Drones have been used to inspect infrastructure at heights, keeping workers out of harm’s way. Source: Cyberhawk Innovations.

In March, ExxonMobil conducted a 2-week research program offshore Santa Barbara, California, in which it utilized UAVs with shore-based cameras and satellites to scout for whales. By testing these advanced remote detection technologies, ExxonMobil aims to improve upon current detection systems for identifying marine mammals, company spokesperson Ashley Smith Alemayehu said.

Oil and gas companies have been using drones for nearly 6 years now, embracing the health and safety advantages of drones vs. traditional inspection methods, Philip Buchan, commercial director at UK-based Cyberhawk Innovations Limited, said.

FuelFix | 30 August 2016

Federal Offshore Chief Calls for Urgency in Bolt Failure Inquiry

The federal government’s top offshore drilling regulator said on 29 August that regulators and the oil and gas industry need to figure out why bolts are failing on undersea equipment used in offshore drilling “sooner rather than later.”

Brian Salerno, director of BSEE, touring the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston in 2016. Credit: BSEE.

“We need to have the root cause before we dictate a solution,” Brian Salerno, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), said at a news conference. “It’s in nobody’s interest to have a catastrophic failure.”

The government urgency on a problem that stretches back a decade is a result of greater awareness about the growing frequency of broken bolts that hold together critical equipment such as blowout preventers.

General Electric Oil & Gas, one of three primary suppliers, issued a global recall after its bolts on a piece of undersea equipment in the Gulf of Mexico failed in 2012, releasing more than 400 bbl of drilling fluid into the water.

That incident was reported to the government but many more were not, federal officials say, masking the extent of the problem. That will change with new rules put into place by the safety bureau this year that require the reporting of equipment failure regardless of whether pollution or worker injury occurred.

Health + Safety at Work | 30 August 2016

What Exactly Is “Safety Differently?”

If you have heard of “safety differently,” chances are you either work for Laing O’Rourke or have heard a presentation by John Green, health and safety director for its Europe hub.

Green returned to the UK in summer 2015 after 5 years in Australia, where he successfully turned ideas in the eponymous book by Australian academic Sidney Dekker into operational policy on Laing O’Rourke sites. Although the ideas have taken root at Laing O’Rourke and elsewhere—including aviation and mining—so far it has made limited impact in the construction sector.

And it’s not difficult to see why “safety differently” might be a hard sell: Essentially, it demands an end to the established culture of “zero harm” policies and a greater acceptance of accidents as part of working life. To an industry that’s adopted mottos such as “all accidents are preventable” and ”zero tolerance,” that is a blindfolded leap into an unknown filled with liability claims, bidding problems, and sleepless nights.

Green is the first to assert this does not mean throwing out the gains of the last 15 years. “It’s not a ‘new church’ because the old one is wrong. I think the principles we’re applying are solidly based [in current practice]. But they’re also for people in search of alternatives, because the old ways aren’t working. Zero harm has done a great job, but its time is done.” The clearest evidence, as he points out, is the stubbornly high fatality rate: a 5-year average of 43 between 2010–11 and 2014–15.

Facility Safety Management | 30 August 2016

New Fall Protection Standard Makes Using Equipment Easier

The revision of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z359.1, Safety Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest Systems, Subsystems, and Components, recently received final ANSI administrative approval. Z359.1 underwent fundamental changes from the 2007 version.

Essentially, it is a new standard with regard to technical content, not simply a revision of the requirements in the previous editions.

The (ANSI) Z359.1 Fall Protection Standard helps guide the use of fall protection to protect workers. Recognizing that the current 10-year standard was dated, theZ359 Committee that oversees the standard’s development created new substandards that address fall restraint systems, work positioning systems, rope access systems, fall arrest systems, and rescue systems. The new standard was approved by ANSI on 15 August 2016, said Thomas Kramer, vice-chairman of the Z359 Committee.

“We wrote standards for each piece of equipment to make it much easier to use,” Kramer said. “We wanted to ensure it would be a guide to the whole Z359 Fall Protection Code by establishing requirements for the performance, design, marking, qualification, instruction, training, inspection, use, and maintenance of this equipment.”

Lone Star Analysis | 24 August 2016

If Deepwater Horizon Had Been Connected to Real-Time Analytics

Offshore Energy Today | 15 August 2016

Offshore Safety Body Looks Into Total’s Martin Linge Development

Norway’s offshore safety body, the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), has found several nonconformities and improvement points during the audit of Total’s Martin Linge development, offshore Norway.

Martin Linge field development. Image source: Total E&P Norge.

Total E&P Norge (Total) is the operator of the Martin Linge field, located near the British part of the North Sea about 42 km west of the Oseberg field. Water depth at the area is approximately 115 m.

Martin Linge development will consist of a fully integrated fixed production platform with a steel jacket and a floating storage and offloading vessel used for oil storage.

Wells for the development will be drilled using a mobile jackup rig. The entire facility will be powered from land. Production is scheduled to start in late 2017.

The PSA said that it carried out an audit of how Total is ensuring compliance with the regulatory requirements for barriers and maintenance in the Martin Linge development project.

The audit was conducted in two parts, on 8 and 9 March at Total’s Stavanger premises and then from 14 to 16 June at the construction site at Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea.

PSA said that the audit revealed a total of two nonconformities and seven improvement points.

JPT | 12 August 2016

Creating a Safety Culture: What It Is and How To Get There

Safety culture can be distilled into nine characteristics predictive of safety outcomes. By tracking performance across these characteristics, companies can measure their performance against the world’s most successful safety organizations, both within the industry and without. More importantly, they can identify gaps in their culture and breakdowns in their safety performance, thereby establishing clear goals to overcoming them and achieving safety objectives. To improve safety performance and create lasting change in organizational culture, leaders can focus on developing 10 safety-specific leadership capabilities.

Introduction
A strong safety culture means more than just better injury rates. Organizations good at safety have been shown to do better across all performance areas. With improvements in safety comes greater employee commitment to company goals, more discretionary effort, better team functioning, and a healthier bottom line.

A high-functioning safety culture is defined by a clear vision from leadership that articulates actionable steps and specific behaviors leading to the desired state. When people know the goal and what is required of them to achieve it, they will not get lost in vague mandates that fail to motivate or that fall short of galvanizing individuals around safety improvement.

Culture change requires a leadership team that is committed to the vision and capable of guiding the organization through obstacles and the inevitable pushback that occurs with any initiative. Leaders can learn skills and develop capabilities that will move the organization in the desired direction and build performance across the nine culture characteristics indicative of world-class safety performance. With visible commitment to safety, leaders will gain credibility with the workforce and engage people in the process.

Culture Characteristics Predictive of Safety Outcomes
Procedural Justice. This characteristic reflects the extent to which the individual perceives fairness in the supervisor’s decision-making process. Leaders enhance perceptions of procedural justice when they make decisions characterized by consistency across people and time, lack of bias, accuracy (decisions are based on good information and informed opinion), correctability (decisions can be appealed), representativeness (the procedure reflects the concerns, values, and outlook of those affected), and ethicality.

Leader/Member Exchange. This dimension reflects the relationship the employee has with his or her supervisor. In particular, this scale measures the employee’s level of confidence that his or her supervisor will look out for his or her interests. Leaders can enhance perceptions of leader/member exchange by developing positive working relationships with their reports and getting each person to see how achieving organizational goals can be fulfilling both to the leader and to the employee.

Transformational leadership exerts influence principally through relationships with employees. In a work group, the supervisor develops relationships with each of the workers. The leader exerts influence by getting each person to see how his or her objectives support the larger objectives of the organization.

Management Credibility. Management credibility reflects the perception of the employee that what management says is consistent with what management does. Leader behaviors that influence perceptions of trustworthiness include consistency, integrity (telling the truth and keeping promises), sharing control in decision making and through delegation, communication, and benevolence (demonstration of concern).

Perceptions that a manager is competent seem to be a necessary but not sufficient basis for development of trust. That is, workers are unlikely to trust a manager who is seen as incompetent, but competence alone does not necessarily lead to trustworthiness.

Perceived Organizational Support. This characteristic describes the perception of employees that the organization cares about them, values them, and supports them. The extent to which employees believe the organization is concerned with their needs and interests strongly influences the likelihood that they will “go the extra mile.” Leaders can demonstrate organizational support by engaging in and communicating efforts that go well beyond what is required.

Perceived organization support is not the same as job satisfaction, although the two are often related. Employees who believe the organization cares about them are more likely to be satisfied. Perceived organizational support is an overall perception by employees of organizational commitment to them, whereas job satisfaction is an affective (positive/negative) response to specific aspects of the work situation (e.g., pay, physical working conditions, work schedules).

Teamwork. Teamwork measures the perceived effectiveness of work groups to function as an effective team. Group process affects whether people will talk to one another about safety, and it is directly related to safety outcomes such as level of at-risk behavior and injury reporting. It also influences perceptions of communication around safety and of organizational value for safety.

Work-Group Relations. The work-group-relations characteristic reflects the degree to which coworkers treat each other with respect, listen to each other’s ideas, help each other out, and follow through on commitments made. Work-group relations are related to supervisor fairness as well as to worker/supervisor relationships. These beliefs influence whether employees will speak up to one another about safety issues and raise safety concerns with the supervisor.

Work-group relations are affected by the leader of the group. Supportive and trustworthy behavior by the leader is likely to lead to trust among members of the group.

Organizational Value for Safety. This dimension relates to perceptions of the extent to which the organization ­values safety as represented by the prioritization of safety compared to other concerns; how informed management is about safety issues; and the willingness of management to invest time, energy, or money in addressing safety issues. The higher the perceived value for safety, the more likely it is that workers will raise safety issues, work safely, and not cover up incidents and injuries.

Upward Communication. This characteristic addresses perceptions of the quality and quantity of upward communication about safety, the extent to which people feel encouraged to bring up safety concerns, and the level of comfort in discussing safety-related issues with the supervisor. The climate around communication influences the willingness of workers to speak up to one another about safety, the level of at-risk behavior, and the number of reported injuries.

Approaching Others. The approaching-others component addresses beliefs about the likelihood that workers will speak up to a coworker who they think is at risk for injury, pass along information about safety, or step up to help a coworker do a job more safely. The more likely workers are to speak up with each other, the higher the level of safe behaviors in a work group.

Approaching others is related to both leader/member exchange and the commitment of the team leader (supervisor) to safety. The quality of the relationship with the supervisor is related to the willingness of team members to speak up. If the leader values safety, the subordinate can reciprocate high-quality leader/member exchange by speaking to others about safety.

What Sets High-Performers Apart?
Experience working with companies around the world in some of the most demanding environments has led to the identification of key practices and organizational capabilities that set organizations that excel at safety apart from others. Among these practices, great safety organizations define a clear vision for safety; create a comprehensive network of communication and education across departments, levels, and sites; and gain the buy-in and commitment of employees.

Organizations that perform high in safety are created at the top by leaders who are serious about culture change, know the role they play in creating culture, and who work with their teams on a daily basis to cultivate the culture they want to see. These leaders set the tone for the entire organization, back up what they promise, and talk about safety improvement in terms of exposure reduction rather than injury. A previously published article identified 10 characteristics that distinguish great safety organizations. They are

  • Understand the real safety objectives of the organization’s leadership.

Conclusion
It is possible to identify, track, and measure the characteristics that make up great safety organizations. Because of this, in turn, it is possible to create a discernible and actionable path toward safety improvement across a host of cultural scales. There is no silver bullet in safety, and culture cannot be changed overnight. But, with leadership commitment starting at the executive level and extending to line leaders, a climate of change can be created that supports and sustains a truly great safety ­organization.