Tragedies that lead to Safety Advances

Richard Wilson October 2, 2018

The Oil and Gas industry is a great mix of risk and reward. Oil rigs are dangerous places, where the threat of major incidents and severe consequences are always present whether it’s an economic loss to the organization, environmental pollution or at worst, loss of life.

The Piper Alpha disaster (1988) was the world’s deadliest oil rig accident, killing 167 workers. A report judged that the operator, Occidental Petroleum, had inadequate maintenance and safety procedures. Like other Oil companies, Occidental had largely cut back on their spending due to the price of oil plummeting from $30 per barrel to $8 in the 1980s.

The accident was caused by a lack of communication during a shift change, meaning staff were unaware that a key piece of pipework, which had been sealed with a temporary cover and no safety valve, was not to be used. As a result, gas leaked out and ignited while firewalls failed to cope with the ensuing gas explosion.

The Deep-Water Horizon disaster was the largest disaster in US waters killing 11 crew men, injuring 38 and igniting a fireball visible from 40 miles away. The day before the accident, the crew had pumped cement to the bottom of the borehole, a standard procedure, aiming to prevent oil leaking out. On the day of the accident, the team carried out checks to ensure that the well had been properly sealed. Everything looked to be in order.

British Petroleum (BP) stated that the accident was due to the failure of eight different safety systems that would have prevented the explosion including: no gas alarm, no battery for the blowout preventer (BOP) and pressure test results being misinterpreted.

These two different accidents resulted from the same types of multiple failures:

Lack of visibility, poor safety culture, inadequate fault reporting and recording systems.

Around 60-80% of accidents, large or small, are due to human error. The most commonly reported incidents are often the result of changing priorities at a corporate level, which may reduce the emphasis on safety.

It’s unfortunate that it takes serious incidents or sometimes deaths for safety compliance to be given the importance it should always have.

3 Must Haves to improve Oil and Gas risk management:

(1) Automate Audits and Inspection Task

Automation has proven to be effective for reducing costs, simplifying tasks, reducing the risk of human error and speeding up business processes. It’s vital your organization has the right Audit Management system in place for a more fluid and comprehensive approach to EHSQ.

Visibility is improved as management will know when an audit or inspection has been missed, which is crucial in an industry where even minor mistakes can have severe consequences.

AuditComply offers automated scheduling to ensure that any required check or inspection is carried out, whether it’s hourly, daily or monthly. Real-time visibility of non-conformances helps mitigate risk as any raised concerns or safety hazards can be dealt with immediately.

(2) Be Mobile!

The use of mobile apps help facilitate your audits and inspections giving you real time data collection, retrieval and immediate feedback.

AuditComply makes life easier by enabling you to focus on the important issues with its automatic report generation – finish your assessment and it’s there for you to review! With our mobile app, you can confidently capture data on/offline- everything is date, time and location stamped. AuditComply makes communication between sites effortless, with scheduling notifications and a comprehensive Non-Conformance workflow, including email/text reminders.

(3) Hold your Audit and Inspection data in one system

Storing documentation, such as forms, checklists, archived data and OSHA paperwork, in one easy-access location so your EHS team have everything available in a click. It allows for better sharing and retrieval of information across sites and departments. Once audits are completed on the AuditComply platform, all records are securely stored on the cloud and are instantly accessible whenever and wherever you need them – giving management complete visibility across multiple locations.

It is difficult to always be on top of safety and compliance especially when standards continually  evolve. The cost of non-compliance is high, with severe commercial and legal repercussions which can affect brand reputation and bring the risk of high financial penalties. AuditComply strives to mitigate risk, drive compliance and improve quality. The platform is an invaluable tool helping streamline your workflow and directing you on the right path for complete compliance.

To find out more about how AuditComply can help your company be in compliance with HSE regulations or to avail of a free trial please contact us at

Similar Articles