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Human Factors in drilling and well operations: Survey of the drillers' work situation

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway is conducting a questionnaire survey among drillers on the Norwegian shelf. The objective is to obtain a better overview and contribute towards improvements in the drillers' work situation.


In recent years, failures in the interplay between human beings, technology and organization have been highlighted as part of the causal scenario associated with serious incidents.

Many of the incidents on the shelf have occurred in connection with drilling and well operations, which have a risk potential for both personal accidents and major accidents.

Report on Human Factors
The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has evaluated the companies' investigations of all serious incidents related to drilling operations which have been reported over the last seven years.

Recurring causes are related to management and organization, failure in execution and organization of the work, lack of communication and procedures/work instructions that are not familiar, understood or observed.

Reference is made in this connection to a report prepared by the PSA in cooperation with DnV; Human Factors in drilling and well operations, which is based on input from 25 companies responding to inquiries in identical letters, as well as the PSA's experience linked to audits and investigations.

Questionnaire survey
In connection with our work, the drillers' situation has emerged as being a potential challenge. Therefore, we conducted audits in 2006 with particular focus on this area. A questionnaire was prepared in this connection. (See link box)

To identify questions targeting relevant challenges, we invited drillers from three drilling contractors to participate in a working meeting with the PSA, in which we worked with DnV to carry out group interviews.

Our conclusion is that the responses from the questionnaire provide good indicators of the drillers' work situation.

In order to obtain a better overview of the situation and to contribute towards improvements in the drillers' work situation, we have contacted all drilling contractors, urging them to use the questionnaire to map the drillers' perception of their own work situation on at least one facility for each contractor.

Those drilling contractors who have activities on both mobile and fixed facilities are encouraged to choose at least one facility of each type.

To ensure the most realistic description possible of the work situation, it is important that the responses to the questionnaires be treated confidentially.

Seminar - autumn 2007
The PSA plans to organize a working seminar in the autumn of 2007, in which the drilling contractors will be asked to present the results of the survey and experience gained in the use of the questionnaire.

Details regarding the seminar will be provided when we contact the respective drilling contractors.

Contact persons in the PSA: