Human error blamed for 80% of offshore accidents

Around 80% of accidents in the offshore oil and gas industry are blamed on human error. According to a new study, human and organisational factors are now widely recognised as […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Around 80% of accidents in the offshore oil and gas industry are blamed on human error.

According to a new study, human and organisational factors are now widely recognised as the main cause of major oil and gas accidents and initiatives to address risks have only recently been developed.

It suggests more needs to be done to understand and avoid these incidents.

The RAND Europe study, commissioned by Total E&P Research and Development, looks at academic insights, industry approaches and lessons learned with regards to preventing human and organisational factors in major accidents.

It warns focusing on human error as the main cause of accidents could lead to employees not reporting them due to a fear of being blamed, which can lead to accidents that could have been addressed at an earlier stage.

Adopting a ‘no-blame’ approach to error management, establishing a reporting culture to identify near misses and providing suitable training are considered “good practice”.

Accidents are no longer considered to be caused by a single chain of events and economic pressures, regulatory constraints and cultural limitations can all contribute, the report states.

It suggests a classification of human and organisational factors should be developed for the oil and gas sector, allowing potential risks to be easily identified and helping to stimulate new research.