Chevron Thailand developing tool to stimulate thinking, ensure multiple layers of protection

Posted on 10 April 2013

By Linda Hsieh, managing editor

Chevron Thailand is working to ensure holes that might turn a potential problem into an incident are plugged during the pre-job process, Rob Weakley, Thailand drilling and completion manager, said at the 2013 IADC Drilling HSE&T Asia Pacific Conference in Singapore last week.

Chevron Thailand is working to ensure holes that might turn a potential problem into an incident are plugged during the pre-job process, Rob Weakley, Thailand drilling and completion manager, said at the 2013 IADC Drilling HSE&T Asia Pacific Conference in Singapore last week.

Chevron Thailand is working to develop simple tools that will help to stimulate crews’ thought processes and ensure that multiple layers of protection are in place before they start any task. “At the end of the day, safety and efficiency is a byproduct of doing a thorough job and planning in advance… Our focus is not so much on safety itself; it’s getting everybody’s skills up the learning curve on planning their job,” Rob Weakley, Thailand drilling and completion manager for Chevron Thailand, said in the keynote address last week at the 2013 IADC Drilling HSE&T Asia Pacific Conference in Singapore.

Having multiple barriers in place – at least five – is critical to reducing the number of incidents, Mr Weakley noted. “When we look back at our incidents, clearly there’s only been one layer of protection in place that allowed that incident to occur when that one layer broke down.” For offshore personnel, performing highly repetitive tasks can become routine even though the tasks remain high-risk. “Just like experienced athletes, they become highly dependent on their memory skills in doing the job. We need to stimulate the thought process of the crews before they start work and get them thinking about how they can make sure they have five layers of protection in place.”

A safety steering committee that meets quarterly has been at work at Chevron Thailand to develop simple-to-use tools to jog employees’ thinking processes. “We’ve done a couple of brainstorming sessions so far, and we’ve got one more to do,” Mr Weakley said. The team already has 10 to 12 ideas each under the categories of design, maintenance, procedures, training and behaviors.

Although the committee has yet to finalize its work, Mr Weakley was able to share a few example ideas that are currently being studied. Under design, for example, one idea was to have a job-specific design checklist on how to design the job. Under maintenance, perhaps employees should check the last time the JSA was audited by supervisors. Under the procedures category, having job-specific pre-job checklists was suggested. “How many of you are comfortable getting on an airplane if the pilot doesn’t go through his checklist? They fly everyday, right? Same principle here. These guys are professionals working offshore; no different than pilots. Checklists just make sure people don’t miss a step,” Mr Weakley said.

He also notes that E-Colors, which help to identify different personality styles, have been adopted at Chevron globally. “It helps (the workforce) understand one another, but it also helps them understand their supervisors. They know when I’m walking around on the rig that I’m not just D&C manager; I’m red/yellow guy, and they know how I’m likely to behave and how I might get hurt. They can help protect me,” Mr Weakley said.

Having a mix of E-Color personalities when conducting a hazard hunt is one possible way to enhance the training component of the pre-job process. “We find that people who are very task-oriented go out and look at a job site … they look at the tasks and they look at the equipment. People-oriented personalities look at what people have to do, what are the positions they have to stand in… They see different sets of hazards,” Mr Weakley said.

He added that all the tools Chevron builds honor the safety management system of the facility where they’re operating. “We work with our business partners as one team. We don’t expect our business partners to come in and do work on their own; we work on that as a team.”

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