Oil rig safety - Lessons from Deepwater Horizon

Based on the aftermath investigation of the sinking of Deepwater Horizon, several weaknesses of the oil rig emergency response management were discovered, despite regular inspections in compliance with SOLAS and USCG requirements, citing an "outstanding safety culture" on board.

Deepwater Horizon was an ultra-deepwater, semi-submersible offshore drilling rig owned by Transocean. On April 20, 2010, while drilling at the Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico, a blowout of methane gas caused a detonation on the platform that killed 11 crew members and ignited a fireball. An attempt to activate the blowout preventer failed as the blind shear ram to plug the well. The fire was out of control, and two days later, on April 22, the Deepwater Horizon sank, leaving the well open at the seabed. The resultant oil spill persisted until July 15, when it was closed by a cap. The US authorities established the Gulf Spill Restoration project to restore much of the coastline.

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Why should you record your (offshore emergency) practice?

Imagine a team practice session. You get a task as a team in different areas of the offshore installation and execute. After half an hour, the training is called. You did not bad, but it could be better. Next week, same time... and the results are almost the same. You start thinking and analyzing, but it is difficult to be aware of everything of what you did, even you do while practicing.

Whatever technology you use for recording your drills, you should have a concept of improvement ready first. There are big benefits in recording your training sessions and reviewing them at a later moment - building awareness on your performance, identifying strengths and mistakes and ensure that you practice where improvement potential for your emergency response exists.

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Norway’s HSE Offshore Standards

With a long history and tradition in travelling the rough sea and also extreme weather conditions under their belts, Norwegians have excelled in learning how to stay safe. This is one of the reasons, why today Norway is a highly respected and leading nation in regards of emergency response management technology for offshore applications.

In 1978, the government launched an extensive offshore safety programme, after an incident on the Ekofisk complex the year before. Despite the new government initiative, Norway experienced its worst industrial disaster two years later when the Alexander Kielland accommodation rig capsized. 123 people died. Emergency response management had to be drastically improved.

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Offshore safety: How to improve your operations cost-effectively

Safety hazards in the offshore industry may be more prevalent than in any other work environment. However, proactive measures safeguard crew and productive operations. Although your goal is to make as much profit as possible, this shouldn't be at your health and safety expense. With this peace of mind, offshore safety is possible without hurting your productivity. Digital technologies such as wearables and collision avoiding systems can help you achieve both in a big way.

Despite safety being a top priority in the offshore industry, operations and profits are legitimate targets. Therefore, boosting safety and productivity needs to be a top priority. Consequently, governmental bodies implement installations' safety standards and emergency response management to try and reduce the hazards and risks while stepping up productivity in offshore oil & gas exploration.

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Offshore Industry: Better Safety Training Results

The Great Crew Change puts an additional emphasis on strengthening safety and emergency response management on offshore installations in the oil and gas industry.

Safety awareness, skills and continuous training are the recipe to foster standards and to avoid incidents. As all measures require time, resources and attention from corporations and crew, they must be as efficient as possible to enable less operational disturbance, minor financial impact and greater effect on overall safety.

Improve Your Offshore Emergency Response Management

The potential profits of offshore drilling are significant, but so are the risks. Therefore, safety must be the number one priority on these installations. Lives and wealth are at risk and must be secured because you care for the wellbeing of your personnel, and you are responsible for smooth and efficient operation in a risky environment at the same time. One crucial approach to improving your emergency response is preparedness.

According to safeopedia, emergency response management "includes any systematic response to an unexpected or dangerous occurrence." HSE supervisors and managers design emergency response procedures to mitigate the impact of an event on people and the environment.

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Offshore safety equipment: Transponders to the rescue!

Safety on offshore installations is a top priority. Safety regulations and standards will keep incidents at bay, but risks persist. In emergency evacuations, processes and equipment are in place to save lives. Transponders help fill a gap in the mustering process, improving your emergency response management substantially.

Working on an offshore installation, floating production site (FPSO), or a wind farm is a hazardous occupation. The environment is harsh, the working conditions stressful, and the shifts long. Personnel stays on board for weeks, sometimes for months. Incidents are common, despite training, best practices and regulations. According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (US), six workers died in offshore-related accidents in 2020, and 160 were injured.

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Lives at stake – is offshore personnel safety good enough?

A holistic HSE philosophy includes all aspects of offshore activity, including the standard of the installations, construction philosophy, operational standards, training of personnel, and maintenance. All of this with one main goal: minimising all forms of incidents and to keep people safe.

Why are companies, in 2021, still using outdated methods to keep track of their personnel offshore? Many companies use pen and paper-based lists to keep a POB overview. How useful would these lists be in case of another “10-year accident”, in the middle of a stormy night, with harsh seas and crew members in panic?

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Emergency Response Management: What is e-mustering?

An automated electronic mustering solution is a vital resource to improve emergency response management. It handles many time-consuming tasks emergency managers must address during a crisis. It could be the right choice for companies looking to streamline their emergency response efforts as such e-mustering solutions help to confirm staff are safe, identify and locate personnel still at risk, and simplify drilling so that everyone can get back to normal work faster.

The initial minutes of an emergency are vital. The team must be trained, the organisation prepared, and emergency procedures are known to react fast and coordinated. The first step of developing a proper emergency response is to conduct a risk assessment to identify potential emergency scenarios. Understanding what can happen will enable you to determine resource requirements and develop plans and procedures to prepare your offshore installation, vessel or plant.

Emergency Mustering: How to improve Offshore Safety

Keeping people safe and infrastructure protected is a number one priority for every organisation. Knowing where your staff are can make the difference between life and death in specific situations. During an emergency, it is vital to know who has or has not left the hazardous area. The ability to track multiple people, at speed in a mass evacuation can prevent injuries, fatalities and loss.

Improving your capabilities for emergency response management is vital.

There are many intrinsic weaknesses in manual mustering. The system relies on a small number of trained personnel to undertake the subsequent roll call but also heavily on staff following procedures.

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Increasing QHSE offshore standards

Reliable products have always been the core of IDENTEC SOLUTIONS’ offering. With our enhanced personnel safety solution Crew Companion we increase emergency response management on a grand scale.

With the offshore exploration industry putting more focus on QHSE and encouraging companies to move from manual to digital solutions, the demand has increased for alternatives to traditional paper-based safety regimes. The combination of remote locations, the exploitation of highly explosive materials, and the harsh environment has given the industry constant and pressing concerns about the safety of their personnel.

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Rfid mustering and emergency response management

In an emergency, the crew of an offshore rig is instructed to muster. Depending on their tasks, mustering can happen at specific locations for specific tasks (e.g. fighting fires, conducting search and rescue, occupying command posts) or to muster in evacuation areas. Once the word is given to abandon the offshore installation, all personnel head toward the lifeboat section and call there to board the assigned rafts.

Offshore drilling is, not only in rough climate zones, an activity performed in a harsh environment under hazardous conditions with many risks involved. Life safety is essential in high-risk surroundings where a single mistake can result in disaster. Accuracy and time could mean the difference between life and death for many people. Automated mustering using RFID is an integral part of an advanced emergency response management.

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VW Autostadt Infographic

The Autostadt in Wolfsburg focuses on all aspects of mobility. The theme park and educational centre is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany. The Autostadt is also the world's largest new car delivery centre and home to the multi-brand ZeitHaus car museum.

Emergency Response Management: Mobile mustering

Cruise ships, extensive facilities, mass events, big office buildings, offshore installations and mines must prepare for an emergency evacuation scenario.

When safety managers use traditional mustering methods, inaccurate data will lead to dangerous situations for personnel, visitors and rescue teams.

A mobile mustering solution based on automatic scanning of the entire area will provide a much better overview of the situation and help emergency response management where needed.