The Human Factor: Process Safety and Culture
Recorded on May 28, 2014 (90 minutes)

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In July 2012 the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) held a two-day summit on human factors to create a common understanding of the strategic challenges for the oil and gas E&P industry, to identify what is known and unknown in the field, and to explore possible actions to accomplish the needed change indicated by the U.S. National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling report. 
This Technical Report is based on discussions and conclusions at the summit and is intended to provide guidance on the human factors risks in E&P operations and what can be done to reduce those risks and increase safety.
The challenges industry faces as it tries to move further to an organizational culture in which process safety is as well managed as personal safety is currently managed in the industry is defining what a safety culture is and working on human factors risks that could impact this culture. In civil aviation, a series of major accidents led to the introduction, mandatory requirement and acceptance of human factors methodologies called Crew Resource Management (CRM). Similarly, the nuclear power industry identified and acted upon the concept of its safety culture after a small number of major incidents. The challenge to the E&P industry is to achieve a similar breakthrough by confronting the human factor as an issue in process safety both onshore and offshore.


Kenneth E. Arnold, a consultant, has over forty-five years of industry experience with 16 years at Shell Oil Company. He founded Paragon Engineering Services in 1980 which was purchased by AMEC in 2005. Ken retired from AMEC in 2007 and is currently Senior Technical Advisor for WorleyParsons and an independent consultant providing project management, facilities engineering and engineering management consulting to the oil and gas industry. Ken was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2005.
Arnold is has served on the Board of SPE as Vice President of Finance and as the first Director of Projects, Facilities and Construction.  He is on the Editorial Board of “Oil & Gas Facilities” and recently chaired a national Research Council report on measuring the effectiveness of offshore Safety and Environmental Management Systems. 
Ken is co-author of two textbooks and over 50 technical articles on project management and facilities design. He has twice been chosen as an SPE distinguished lecturer and was named 2003 Houston Engineer of the Year by the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. Arnold has taught facilities engineering at the University of Houston and is a recipient of the SPE Public Service Award, the SPE DeGolyer Medal and the SPE Production Engineering Award.
He has received an American Petroleum Institute citation for his work in promoting offshore safety and was recognized by the Offshore Energy Center in 2009 for his pioneering work in helping to develop API RP 14C. Ken is a registered professional engineer and serves on the advisory board of the engineering schools of both Tulane University and Cornell University, a Trustee of Southwest Research Institute.

J. Ford Brett
consults in the area of petroleum project management, and has delivered workshops and short courses in more than 20 countries. He has worked on numerous exploration and development drilling projects in the Bering Sea, North Slope of Alaska, Gulf of Mexico, offshore Trinidad, and the Overthrust Belt in Wyoming. He has been granted more than 25 US patents and is the author or co-author of more than 30 technical publications.

For his work on improved oilwell drilling techniques, he was honored in 1996 with a nomination for the National Medal of Technology, the United States' highest technology award. In 2000, he received the American Society for Competitiveness Philip B. Crosby Medal for Global Competitiveness Through Quality in Knowledge Management, Best Practices Transfer, and Operations Improvement. Brett has served as a Distinguished Lecturer for SPE. He holds a BS degree in mechanical engineering and physics from Duke University (where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa), an MBA degree from Oklahoma State University, and an MSE degree from Stanford University. Brett currently is the President of PetroSkills.

Andrew Dingee chairs the SPE Human Factors Technical Section and has designed a safety management for an operator.  He worked extensively in aviation safety after leaving active duty from the Marine Corps where he was an aviation instructor.  He transitioned to the oil and gas industry in 2010, bringing lessons learned from the recent revolution in aviation safety to the oilfield environment.
He has worked with companies developing SEMS programs and doing SEMS audits.  Andrew worked at a major operator.  He is the author of “Hanger Talk”, which focused on the human error element of incidents.