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Simulation-based training targets entire team, not just crane operators

Posted on 15 July 2010

The multi-role interactive simulation is performed in a classroom setting with simulator stations for the operator, signalman (banksman), slinger and instructor. The team must work together to perform lift operations.

The multi-role interactive simulation is performed in a classroom setting with simulator stations for the operator, signalman (banksman), slinger and instructor. The team must work together to perform lift operations.

Most fatal accidents connected with offshore work in the past 10 to 12 years have involved the use of lifting equipment, and the central causal factor is not equipment failure but a lack of teamwork, said Dr Arnold Free, CMLabs Simulations. This lack of teamwork can affect the planning of operations, work supervision, organization and management, and maintenance of equipment.

At the IADC Lifting & Mechanical Handling Conference on 13 July in Houston, Dr Free presented a possible solution in a simulation-based training program with multi-role game technology that will train the entire lift crew, not just the crane operator, so members can build teamwork before they go out on real jobs.

“Teamwork is not taught in a classroom… You’re not going to learn how to work together by sitting in a classroom,” he said.

With the simulation-based training program, the focus is on simulating real job conditions. For example, he said, “A signalman isn’t sitting at a PC clicking on icons on how to do hand signals; they’re actually standing, doing the hand signals … They have to do the real hand signals in order to perform the job. They have to communicate on the radio as they would in a real job.”

Not only has simulation-based training been used effectively in other industries such as aviation and medical, but it also carries advantages when it comes to training the younger generation of workers who grew up using computers. The Net Generation may have spent 10,000 hours playing video games and 20,000 hours participating in online social networking by the time they’re young adults – but only 5,000 hours reading.

These future workers expect training to be both stimulating and interactive, Dr Free said, and it would be a mistake to expect them to effectively learn in a traditional classroom setting.

The new training, jointly developed by Norway’s PNI Training Centre and Canada’s CMLabs Simulations, requires the operator, slinger and signalman (banksman) to work together in a simulated offshore environment. Each team member plays a role: The crane operator works in an immersive simulator; the signalman walks around the rig and performs radio communications and hand signals for the operator; and the slinger inspects the lifting gear and load and performs safety inspections. The team must work together, from job planning and operations to after-action review.

More information about this training program can be found in the July/August 2010 issue of Drilling Contractor.

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