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Drilling It Safely

Creating a culture where teamwork thrives starts at the top

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During a panel session held at the 2016 IADC HSE&T Conference on 3 February in Houston, Eduardo Salas discussed the role teamwork plays in creating a culture of safety. In this video, Dr Salas, Professor of Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Rice University, outlines some of the challenges to building a strong team. These include the sense of uncertainty that employees feel during a downturn, fear of reporting an incident and a tendency to put oneself above the team. However, a company’s leadership can help create an environment in which teamwork thrives.

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Wildlife Center of Texas rehabilitates wild animals, returns them to native habitats

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Every year, the Wildlife Center of Texas (WCT) treats more than 10,000 injured, sick or oiled wild animals. Treatment includes emergency trauma care, long-term rehabilitation, conditioning for release and, finally, return to the wild. Sharon Schmalz, Executive Director of the Wildlife Center of Texas, spoke at the 2016 IADC HSE&T Conference, held 2-3 February in Houston, to educate drilling industry professionals on the work required to save these animals. Watch the video with Ms Schmalz to learn about the WCT Oiled Wildlife Response Program, as well as the WCT’s work to rehabilitate brown pelicans affected by the Breton Sound 51 Oil Spill last year in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Drilling Ahead: Boom/bust: Nothing new under the sun

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The reviews are in, and this is the worst downturn since the 1980s. After the baby bust of 2008-09, it was easy to think, “This too shall pass.” But, as one frustrated exec told me on the cusp of the Great Downturn, “We worked every angle from the 2009 playbook, but nothing succeeded.” During the 2009 downturn, gas went flat as swollen inventories cratered prices. But liquids and crude prices still soared. We don’t have an escape route this time.

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Research project aims to improve safety by learning from success

Figure 1: This simplified model for success, failure and variability illustrates how individuals handle deviations from normal variation in work performance.

Many theories, concepts and perspectives are available to the petroleum industry to help it understand failure. Similarly, there is a rich array of methods to analyze the causes of accidents and critical events. A great effort is put into such analyses and dissemination of results, by the industry and by national authorities. However, when it comes to successful operations, the industry lacks the language and theoretical “infrastructure” to conceptualize success. Further, there is a scarcity of methods for analyzing and learning from successful operations.

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Improved techniques, mixing units can minimize crew exposure to caustic soda on drilling rigs

Many companies in the drilling industry still use traditional techniques for mixing caustic soda. This includes using 55-gal barrels with connected paddles to facilitate the mixing operation. Some drilling companies, however, have upgraded their units by adding an electrical motor for agitation purposes, instead of using manual handles.

Hazardous substances cause 74,000 work-related deaths in EU countries each year. This indicates that more people die from dangerous substances than from workplace incidents. Caustic soda is one of the hazardous substances. A significant number of employees are away from work due to caustic soda skin burns, which can take weeks or months to heal.

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