The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Writing Proper Standard Work Procedures

Graham Marshall - Thursday, April 06, 2017

Over the previous eight-years I've  worked on improving Procedures in the United States Oilfield.

In those eight-years I have assisted my US client to use proper Procedures to drive huge Safety, Quality, Delivery and Cost (SQDC) improvements in their business.

For example, we have cut well completions costs from $15 Million in 2008 to under $5 Million in 2017.

We have reduced OSHA recordable incidents from three per month in 2008 to none in 2015 and one in 2016.

We have reduced the spud-to-spud drill rig time from 45-days to 15 days.

Putting together everything I've learned about good Procedures; I have recently delivered two training courses in how to write proper Procedures in Western Australia.

Because of the success of the the first two programs, I have decided to deliver four more programs in July and August 2017.

You can review the coarse objectives below.

The next day-long programs will be delivered on the following dates:

  • Thursday 6th July 2017;
  • Thursday 20th July 2017;
  • Thursday 3rd August 2017;
  • Thursday 17th August 2017; and 
  • Thursday 31st August 2017.

For further details, program costs and to make a booking to attend, simply click this link.

Using Procedures to Reduce Risk in Shale Gas

Graham Marshall - Thursday, January 19, 2017

The anti-shale gas extremists in the UK and elsewhere like to promote the notion that the Shale Gas industry is unregulated and out of control.

In reality, of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

Like all long-term established industries - remember - Shale Gas and Oil has been around since the 1940s; the industry uses a range of standard and accepted techniques to reduce risk to a level as low as reasonably practicable and in line with Government Regulations and community demands.

One area of control that is standard in the Shale Gas sector relates to the use of written Procedures.

Procedures not only show workers how to undertake given tasks in a safe manner; they also help to demonstrate HOW any company is complying with the Health, Safety and Environmental legislation.

Here are just some examples of the massive range of Procedures, Guidelines and Standard Work Practices that are used to manage and minimize risk within the shale gas sector.

New Job for Gulf of Mexico

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, December 04, 2013

We're pleased to have won a contract to develop around 120 Standard Operating Procedures for the Baldplate Platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

The job involves ensuring the SOPS are written in line with the requirements of the SEMS firmly embedded.

We've been chosen for the job following our success in developing a suite of Procedures for completion operation in the Bakken oilfield in North Dakota.

Kinetic Energy in Crane Wire Rope

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The safety alert (below) produced by the Marine Safety Forum highlights how the stored kinetic energy hazard within wire-rope used in slings and rigging should be understood before working on changing out such types of wire-rope.

The alert also highlights the need for: 1) Document Procedure for the task; 2)  JSA to be completed highlighting the kinetic energy hazard; and 3) No one to stand in "line of fire" when removing spooled wire-rope.

Supervisors Role for HSE

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It is a self-evident truth that Supervisors perform a vital role in the identification and control of hazards, and minimization of risk.

The supervisor's role is critical in showing "the public face" of the organisation; representing the organisation’s HSE values, HSE priorities and HSE expectations. 

And employees will typically  look to their supervisors’ actions to identify those behaviours and attitudes which are likely to be viewed favourably or otherwise by the organisation. 

As such, supervisor language and behaviour has a direct impact on employee HSE behaviour. 

From a risk management perspective, effective supervision requires time spent coaching employees in identifying, understanding and controlling hazards.

This approach to supervision not only educates employees in the how and why of hazard identification and management, but also demonstrates that it is the top priority for the organisation. 

Furthermore, direct feedback is one of the most effective tools that supervisors can use to improve employee HSE performance.

There are a broad variety of strategies that can and should be used to improve supervisor performance in promoting and reinforcing appropriate hazard management behaviour. 

From a personnel resourcing perspective, the following strategies may be beneficial:

   Maintain a low employee to supervisor ratio for teams where hazard management is a critical part of their function;

   Provide supervisors with training and coaching in understanding human error mechanisms and fatigue and time pressure issues. 

   Develop Procedures that support supervisors in implementing this knowledge;

   Encourage supervisors to provide feedback to planners in relation to actual vs. planned time for task completion, and build this feedback into future man-hour estimates;

   Provide supervisors with an opportunity to challenge or question plans and schedules; and

   Exercise caution when adding to the workload or responsibilities of supervisors. 

Research shows that, as their workload increases, supervisors spend less time engaged in one-on-one coaching with their employees. 

But this one-on-one coaching is precisely the most effective leadership tools used by supervisors, particularly in relation to promoting and encouraging hazard management behaviour.

Controlling for Human Error During Maintenance

Graham Marshall - Friday, April 26, 2013
Maintaining equipment is one of the most critical risk control measures available to any work place.

And  a lack of maintenance, or errors during maintenance activities can create underlying triggers which may contribute to accidental hazard release later on. 

For example, when servicing an elevating work platform, a maintenance technician could forget to install the appropriate counter-balance water within the tyres of the EWP. 

This error may go undetected until the EWP is raised into position for use, with potentially disastrous consequences for the operator if the EWP tips over.

There are a number of solutions that can eliminate or minimize the potential for maintenance error. 

For example, the development of appropriate maintenance procedures; alongside a program to ensure that the actual procedures are read and applied by those responsible for the work can go along way to minimizing risk.

Adequate personnel resourcing is also important to ensure that there are enough people to undertake maintenance work.

The following additional strategies can also assist in minimizing and mitigating maintenance error:

   Allow enough time for maintenance task completion;

   Scheduling should allow for effective diagnosis and problem-solving, and reduce the likelihood of corner-cutting or memory lapses;

   Eliminate mid-task interruptions of maintenance technicians. Mid-task interruptions can cause maintenance technicians to forget their location in the Procedure, and consequently to miss critical steps;

   Avoid ‘bumping’ maintenance personnel in favour of production-related project personnel;

   Increased maintenance backlog is likely to lead to real or perceived time pressure, increasing the likelihood of error;

   Further, this practice may lead to a workforce perception of an overriding production priority, which may then negatively influence workforce risk management behaviour;

   Develop a quality assurance process within each Procedure to be implemented for all maintenance tasks;

   These processes should allow for a detailed review and audit of all work completed within the maintenance task, including steps completed, equipment used/installed, and checks conducted by the original technician. At Risk Tool Box, we always include an audit protocol for each Procedure we develop;

   Assign such quality assurance tasks to more experienced technicians, and prioritize these tasks over others; and

   Allow extra time for the Audit program to promote thorough and detailed procedure review.

Confined Space Entry Standard

Graham Marshall - Thursday, December 27, 2012

The importance of organizations having a good Confined Space Entry Standard for employee use within confined spaces cannot be understated.

Confined spaces are either partially or completely enclosed working environments.

They are only meant for short-term worker occupancy.

And entering confined spaces is always "high-risk" because of many factors like space-design, previous storage history, and atmosphere.

When implementing an appropriate Confined Space Standard of control, the risk to workers who perform in confined spaces and the hazards and dangers they face can be substantially reduced to the ALARP level.

Employers can keep workers safe by reducing accidents and also save money when they present their workers with a planned and safe working environment.

The picture below gives four key characteristics of confined spaces and then goes on to provide clear explanation and illustration for safety.

• Lack of oxygen results in 50% of confined space worker fatalities.

• Four important steps when working in a confined space.

• One quarter of confined spaces have toxic air environments.

• A loss in just 5% oxygen in the air causes impaired judgement as well as problems breathing.

Employers who develop proper Confined Space Entry Standards and provide training and education to workers can reduce fatalities and accidents.

Identifying and controlling the hazards, and understanding what to do in an emergency are critical.

There is no reason why anyone needs to lose their life working in a confined space.


Exclusion Zones in Crane Operations

Graham Marshall - Sunday, December 23, 2012

This Safety Alert from APPEA highlights the need to enforce procedures for crane operations.

It shows, firstly, the need for exclusion zones, in terms of establishing an area around the "drop zone" of any potential object which could fall; and secondly, the need to ensure that no person is allowed to enter the exclusions zone. 


Safety Alert for Food Preparation with Eggs

Graham Marshall - Monday, December 17, 2012

According to the NOPSEMA safety alert (see below), there has been an outbreak of gastroenteritis on an Australian offshore facility which has resulted in 40 members of the workforce becoming sick and leading to severe disruption of offshore operations.

Salmonella linked to poorly stored eggs has been identified as the cause of the illnesses.

Eggs were being stored in the galley at room temperature for up to 24 hours and adjacent to hot appliances which heated the eggs further.

The eggs were also being used to make mayonnaise and tartare sauce without being cooked.

To avoid this type of incident, eggs need to be kept at temperatures either below 5C when being stored.

Other egg handling practices include:

 Use only whole (i.e. uncracked), clean eggs;

 Thoroughly clean hands, surfaces and utensils before and after working with raw eggs;

 Keep all food containing raw egg well away from ready-to-eat foods (such as prepared salads or sandwiches);

 Use pasteurised egg products for foods that will not be cooked; such as mayonnaise, eggnog, salad dressings;

 If you choose to prepare dishes containing raw or undercooked egg you should prepare the dish as close to consumption as possible, using eggs you have just freshly broken open, store the dish under refrigeration between preparing and serving; and

 Refrigerate any leftover eggs promptly, and discard these within 24 hours.


Drill Pipe Falls to Drill Rig Floor

Graham Marshall - Friday, December 14, 2012

The critical requirement for drilling operations to apply good procedures is illustrated in this APPEA safety alert which shows how a Chevron drill rig off Australia allowed incorrect elevator inserts to be used.

The result of not having/not following a robust procedure on the drill floor was that a stand of drill pipe fell 6 meters to the drill floor below.

The potential for a fatality under such circumstance is high.

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