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1 August 2018

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News: BP Safety Forum Highlights Human Performance, Standardisation, Technology and Data

BP’s recent Global Supplier Safety Forum in London provided further evidence of the oil and gas industry’s strong commitment to enhancing safety though collaboration between energy companies and with their supply chain. Key points of consensus among participants included the:

  • vital contribution of effective system support for human performance in strengthening safety, 
  • case for increased standardisation, for example, on life saving rules,
  • importance of state-of-the- art technology; and,
  • use of data to drive safety innovation and to verify the degree to which implementation is working.

In a strong sign of alignment among the oil companies and suppliers present, 70 percent of participants said that they either have already implemented or are in the process of implementing the Life Saving Rules developed by the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP). The Life Saving Rules were introduced by IOGP following a comprehensive analysis of the root causes of industry fatalities and cover areas such as driving, lifting and energy isolations.

The forum was attended by senior representatives of over 40 BP Upstream suppliers, as well as oil companies Shell, AkerBP and Equinor. “While there has been a significant fall in the number of fatalities reported by members of IOGP over the last decade, every death represents an enormous tragedy and we must never rest until we reach zero,” commented Fuzzy Bitar, Head of BP Upstream Operations. “With contractors regularly working for different operators, having a common set of key safety rules reduces the risk of confusion or the potential for mistakes, and has significant efficiency gains for everyone in the industry.”

In discussions on the role of human performance, the key message was that leaders can create a culture of operational excellence, where human performance is supported by understanding work as imagined versus work as done.  Where gaps are identified, it is important to put in place improvements in system factors such as technology, procedures, training and culture to ensure effective system support for effective human performance, and to ensure that safeguards are in place to ensure that predictable errors don’t have catastrophic consequences.  The forum heard from former NASA astronaut Marsha Ivins that improving safety performance depends on understanding human performance and designing systems and processes on the assumption that people will make mistakes. 

Emphasising the importance of state-of-the-art technology, a survey of forum participants found that 9 percent of companies have already using the NCAP Five Star standard adopted by IOGP for selecting vehicles for ground transport. Another 50 percent of companies said that they are willing to implement the standard within the next 18 months.

The key messages from the BP Global Suppliers Safety Forum were consistent with the goals set by IOGP’s Project Safira, which is aimed at eliminating the key causes of fatal accidents. These place a strong emphasis on using frontline data to systematically identify and tackle the causes of accidents.

Underlying all of this, was a clear sense that collaboration is key to achieve our commitment to safety in our industry.

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