HSE: A necessity, not a luxury
Operators cannot afford to forego health and safety measures, and should leverage innovative solutions
There is nothing more fundamental to the oil and gas sector than health and safety. It is a wild world onsite, and despite best efforts, accidents do happen.
These incidents can be minimised by operators that invest smartly into health & safety clothing and equipment that serves them, and their workers, well. Any risk to a worker is a risk to the company as well, and oil and gas operators would do well to take into consideration what Oil & Gas Middle East’s line-up of industry leaders have to say on the subject.
This month’s Market Focus takes a look at the oil price and how it has impacted health and safety onsite; a recent survey by Petrotechnics found that low oil prices have hurt safety initiatives in large oil companies. In lean times, industry executives must make tough decisions on capital allocations, but health and safety, while not directly profit-bearing, must not fall by the wayside.
Meanwhile, at the forefront of many industry conversations is digitalisation. But what happens when digital technology is at odds with safety? Innovation, of course. Oil & Gas Middle East is pleased to have one such innovator as our Knowledge Partner for this report. Getac, which develops rugged tablets for a range of applications including oil and gas, demonstrates that operators can find the balance between digitalisation (essentially, increased productivity) and safety.
There are so many gains to be made with digital media, including remote monitoring and inspection, constant connection and up-to-date information in the field. Rugged tablets stand out, however, because they not only improve productivity and safety in the ways that most upstream digital technology does, but they take away a hazard with them; the risk of explosion or fire that comes with regular tablet or mobile phone use onsite.
But technology, however impressive, has its limits, and our Last Word comes from DNV GL, which asserts that while artificial intelligence may be an important part of the industry’s future, it might not be capable of taking responsibility for safety critical operations like those of an upstream site. DNV GL offers some recommendations in resolution of this issue, allowing operators to leverage artificial intelligence without having it take complete control.
It is not terribly difficult to understand; health and safety risks hurt assets, operations, productivity, bottom lines, and, of course, the vital workers who make oil and gas extraction possible. To put it briefly: It’s bad for business.
“Unscheduled downtime” is a phrase that strikes fear into the hearts of industry executives, but there are increasingly ingenious ways to minimise this and create operations that are safe, productive and digitally enabled.