Making Wells Safer: A Company Initiative
There are two components to worker safety on offshore drilling projects: personal safety and process safety. Personal safety obliges workers to be cautious and careful when performing their job duties. Process safety obliges supervisors and companies to manage the hazards that cause major accidents.
Most of the time, these hazards involve the release of toxic or hazardous materials, the release of energy in a fire or explosion, or both of these dangers simultaneously. Oil rig explosions combine every possible hazard a worker can face in the offshore field—which is why corporate decision-makers need to spend every possible resource on ensuring oil rig explosions never happen again.
The creation and implementation of technology designed to stabilize drilling operations is an area of study called "wellbore integrity." If companies are able to combine technical integrity, operating integrity, and design integrity, they may be able to reach full wellbore integrity. This level of integrity requires the help of people in all areas of the oil industry, including technical authorities, principal technical experts, and contractors.
All employees should be required to perform a competency test to make sure that they understand the logistics of their job and can perform their duties safely. Well control equipment, spill containment, an oil spill containment system, well integrity monitoring, safety barriers, and equipment testing and qualifications will help to maximize safety at offshore drilling locations.
Shell Improves Safety
An excellent industry example of making wells safer can be observed in Shell Wells’ competency development programs. Competency development programs at Shell Wells have already proven to be beneficial and have improved the safety of Shell's workers in the ocean. Shell Wells has devoted an immense amount of time and resources to preparing their workers and rigs for safe operations, and their work has paid off.
Take a look at some of the ways Shell makes wells safer:
- Constantly upgrading technical standards
- Employing competent staff & contractors
- Obtaining original equipment manufacturer certifications
- Applying safety case regimes
- Managing major hazards
- Emphasizing a culture of safety among workers
- Transparent process safety tools to ensure compliance
Each employee of Shell Wells is required to undergo a rigorous competency development program. They are required to pass Round I and Round II competency tests and are only allowed two fails.
Approximately 20% of the test takers fail their first attempt.
Their competency development program holds high standards for workers and reinforces present workers’ knowledge by requiring exams every two years for certain positions and enforcing mandatory well control training for others. As an incentive to stay up to date and invest in ongoing training, employees who pass Round II of Shell’s competency development training can use their accreditations to receive a master’s degree from Robert Gordon University of Scotland or the University of Houston.