Training for Well Workers

The vast majority of airline crashes have one thing in common. In 75% of commercial plane accidents, the crash occurred on the first day a flight crew had ever flown together.

In another study, researchers found that if you put a heart surgeon with a new team, his mortality rate went back up. Why? Experts believe that skill and competence is team-specific—meaning the skill of an individual only makes a difference when the team is competent together.

The current certification process for well workers and engineers treats each worker as an individual—testing their knowledge of casing design, wellbore hydraulics, and more—but drilling is a team sport. Professionals believe well workers would benefit from certifications that are company-specific or role-specific, ensuring that their specific knowledge matches the specific needs of the team.

What Is the Benefit of Requiring Unique Certification for Well Workers?

Most workers have unique responsibilities that are not covered in the certification program. If all workers also needed to receive a unique certification for specific equipment, companies, and operations, it would ensure further employee comprehension and minimize mistakes on rigs.

Some of the unique skills not taught in the general certification program include but are not limited to the following:

  • BOP system configuration
  • The use of proprietary cement additives
  • The exception reporting process
  • Execution of a well contingency plan
  • Operation of a cement pump

"Minimizing mistakes" is no small thing, either. Small mistakes are what lead to horrific accidents and tragic deaths, and minimizing them means minimizing loss of life.

When NASA learned that flight crews were more likely to crash if it was their first time flying together, they ran a simulation. The sim compared a sleep-deprived crew that had worked together before and a well-rested crew that had never flown together. They found that even when pulling an all-nighter and operating at sub-par levels, the crew that had flown together before made fewer mistakes.

The Problem of “Competence Gaps”

Many certifications leave workers with “competence gaps,” or areas of skill or knowledge that the worker is not familiar with. These competence gaps are more accurately called safety gaps—when to comes to the well-being of workers and to the overall safety and efficiency of the job site, a gap in knowledge is a major liability.

For this reason, it is important that employers take a systematic approach to finding and addressing these competence gaps, both by defining the unique roles of their workers as well as the areas in which they may be less experienced. Then, employers can solve these competence gaps by providing access to auxiliary training and education for their workers.

How Can Supervisors Address Gaps Left by Certifications?

If supervisors were able to pinpoint competence gaps, they would then be able to discuss these areas of uncertainty with their workers in order to make sure that they understand the duties they are responsible for. In addition, these supervisors would also be able to develop training for their workers in order to address the gaps.

Employees could then take a knowledge assessment based on their knowledge of these areas—and, if they pass this, they could go on to take a request capability assessment that would lead to training and observation on the job. After this, trainers would be able to provide workers with coaching, feedback, and evaluation specific to the company before granting them certification and allowing them to work on the rigs.

Overall, these extra measures would result in safer, more efficient, and more competent job sites, where workers feel confident in their areas of expertise and equipped with the knowledge and resources they need to excel and to take pride in their work.

Discuss a Work Injury with Arnold & Itkin

Supervisors and managers have a responsibility to keep work sites safe for their employees. Part of this includes providing sufficient training. If you or your loved one was injured on the job, we encourage you to speak with an oil rig accident attorney from Arnold & Itkin. Our clients have won billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements thanks to our help.

Call our office at (888) 346-5024! We'd be happy to answer your questions and review your options in a free consultation.

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