In today's world, everything is happening in real-time. You can receive an electronic message from across the world in seconds and nearly every person has more sensors and technology sitting in their pocket than the system that took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon! It is time we made use of these advancements to decrease the risks associated with the Oil and Gas industry.
With so much going on around Oil Refineries, Drilling Sites, and Pipelines it is no wonder why the risks have always been so high. Now that we are at a time where technology can mitigate many of these risks, it is time we explored systems that can aid in the monitoring and interpretation of risks and hazards while providing real-time warnings when the risk threshold gets too high because as we have discussed previously, the first step to preventing incidents is to be aware of risks and hazards.
Sensors, Software and Artificial Intelligence
It is human nature to find the shortest path, that is why I advocate for Artificial Intelligence to interpret sensor data and determine when things are “not quite right”. This should not replace the personnel that are on-site, but rather aid them by watching all the data that is coming through to make reasonable interpretations and send a warning to the correct persons who will correct the hazard and determine the next steps when incidents and risks present themselves. Having a solid foundation for increasing awareness on sites will tremendously improve the statistics we see each year regarding safety and work related incidents.
“Safety First” NOT “Safety Third”
When I was working in construction, I heard many workers jokingly say “Safety Third” which implied Production and Profit comes before Safety. This may seem funny to some, but it speaks volumes to the mindsets instilled into these workers from the companies that are hiring them. In order to achieve the goal of 0 workplace incidents, we need to do better at changing this mindset to a “Safety First” mentality. Digitalization of Safety also means increasing the access to safety related training and coaching that will ultimately remove the complacency and risky actions seen in workers.
We have a long way to go before we get where we need to be. We must heavily invest in the development and implementation of safety related technology and just like with every industry, the leaders must choose to take the first steps in protecting People, Environment, Assets and Reputation.