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Evolving technology, industry standards drive evolution of IADC training programs

Mark Denkowski, IADC Vice President – Accreditation Operations

Mark Denkowski, IADC Vice President – Accreditation Operations

At IADC, we believe that protecting the safety of the industry’s workforce is paramount. As an industry, our commitment to safety is always top of mind – morning, noon and night, 365 days a year. I began working in oil and gas more than 35 years ago, and like many of us who have had a long career in this industry, I have had an insider view into the changes that have been made with regard to safety. They are massive.

Technology – and a better understanding of how safety equipment and role-specific training ensure a workforce that is supplied with the knowledge and information to safely perform their job functions – have moved our industry along at a lightning pace when we look at things like incident rates.

IADC has tracked recordable incident rates and fatalities since 1962. Our data shows an incredible reduction in incidents over the course of 50-plus years. For instance, in 1993, the recordable incident rate was 4.41. In 2017, that rate was 0.54. This achievement is due to a commitment by the industry to delve deeply into the causes of incidents and to band together to solve them with a combination of better equipment, training and a greater focus on competency assurance. The numbers clearly show that our efforts have been successful.

The numbers, however, also show trends over time. While the overall trend for incident rates is falling, historically, incidents tick up when the industry rebounds from a downturn. This is where we are now. As of early June, the rig count was 1,062; that compares with 927 a year ago. The increased activity means that we must be cognizant of historic incident trends and stay motivated to ensure that incident rates remain low, even in the wake of increased manhours and rig counts.

At IADC, we are working with industry partners to ensure that our training and accreditation programs reflect the latest in industry safety, standards and technology. In an industry as fast-paced as ours, it is no easy feat, and we are lucky to have a group of industry subject matter experts who are willing to volunteer their time and expertise to ensure that our training programs represent the best in the industry.

More than 100,000 industry personnel have completed the WellSharp training program since it was introduced in 2015. The program continues to gain traction, as we believe that it is the most comprehensive well control training available.

This year, we have also introduced the WellSharp Well Servicing courses, the result of two years of work by a dedicated group of industry experts. These courses include equipment operator courses, oil and gas representative course and a subsea supplement. Further, we are currently working to complete the WellSharp Well Servicing Introductory course.

We are also working to revamp RigPass, an employee safety orientation training program. Endorsed by both SafeGulf and SafeLand, it will be updated to strengthen learning objectives and to ensure that the materials are fresh and relevant. Our industry has evolved from simply providing training to our workers.

We have defined competencies and incorporated skills assessments on the job site to ensure that those workers are able to practically apply the skills learned in the classroom. We have taken this a step further in recent years and are now looking at ways to better understand and implement human factors.

What motivates people, and how they make decisions and choices in stressful situations, is the basis of the science of human factors, and it has become a focus for our industry in the past several years as we seek to improve safety and operational efficiency.

In May, IADC, along with Maersk Training, hosted a workshop in Houston to discuss human factors and crew resource management as it relates to onshore and offshore operations. The workshop featured keynote speeches from onshore and offshore drilling contractors and a panel discussion with industry human factor specialists. We had a strong turnout and a lot of good conversations and insights by those present, confirming the progress that the industry has made but also highlighting the work that needs to be done to fully implement human factors and crew resource management into the workforce.

We are constantly reevaluating our training programs to ensure that they best meet the needs of the industry workforce. There is a lot of work ongoing behind the scenes at IADC to ensure that our industry has the safety training it requires, because ensuring that every individual on every rig is able to walk off the job site and make it home safely to their families remains our goal. We believe that safety training is key to achieving it. DC

Click here to read about IADC’s WellSharp Well Servicing program. 

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