Better safety data could help prevent oil industry disasters – Houston ChroniclePosted: July 23, 2012
Past CSB investigations have found companies focusing on personal injury rates while overlooking looming process safety issues – like backlogs in maintaining safety equipment and failure to implement recommendations from previous similar incidents. The need to develop and implement actionable safety indicators that drive continuous improvement is the reason the CSB is holding a two-day public hearing in Houston this coming Monday and Tuesday.We will release preliminary findings from our ongoing Macondo investigation related to process safety and the use of indicators, and we will hear testimony from panels of experts on what such indicators should look like and how we can make energy exploration and production safer. The panelists include experts from abroad who will report on the challenges and successes they have faced in implementing and using effective safety performance indicators to reduce major hazard risks.For example, organizational expert Professor Andrew Hopkins points out that among major offshore oil producers, the U.S. lags behind Australia and Norway in requirements to publicly report such data as “well kicks.” Indeed, the Deepwater Horizon crew experienced several well kicks at the Macondo well prior to the disaster that might have, if effectively investigated, warned of the need for improved kick identification and response. And well hear from a former top regulator from the U.K. whose country was an early adopter of process safety indicators regulations. He notes that its not enough for companies to know what the data are – they must take action to fix the problem, and be required to do so.