Five tips for energy companies to work safer

Five tips for energy companies to work safer

June 15, 2023
Time to read: 8 minutes
Morten Hansen

Ethics and corporate social responsibility expectations for energy companies are higher than ever from all stakeholders – from policymakers and regulators to shareholders and the general public.

As a result, oil, gas, renewables and utilities are held to a higher standard of safety and are expected to implement safer ways of working to protect people, the environment and property. This is now essential for safeguarding your reputation and remaining competitive.

What it means to work safer with digitalisation

Safer ways of working in the energy industry help protect worker health and reduce sick leave. They also reduce the risk of accidents, which could harm your employees and cause damage to the environment and your assets. Digitalisation presents many opportunities to enable safer ways of working for both greenfield and brownfield assets, enabling you to be more proactive, efficient and aligned in your safety programs. Here are five tips to make the most of these opportunities and work safer together.

Learn more from your data

Bringing together all your data in the cloud supercharges your performance analytics – the practice of collecting, analysing, and interpreting all kinds of data. This allows you to continuously measure, analyse and improve performance over time to make informed decisions that can proactively help identify safety risks. Create a safer future when you learn from past and present data.

For instance, analysing data on past accidents and near-misses at rigs, power plants or other assets makes it possible to develop, test, and implement initiatives to help prevent future incidents and ensure safety measures are up to date. This digital approach can generate valuable insights for improving your safety programs and reducing the number of accidents.

Take a proactive approach to safety

By bringing together work activities from multiple systems in one place, you can alert users about potential maintenance issues and even conflicts – for example, work happening nearby, in sensitive areas, or at heights. You can also rely on capabilities like predictive maintenance alerts and proactive monitoring to help ensure proper maintenance and operation of equipment and assets. It’s safer to detect potential hazards beforehand and in real-time.

For instance, making operators aware of potential safety risks enables them to work proactively to prevent accidents, injuries, and other safety incidents that could harm workers, damage equipment, or compromise the integrity of critical assets. Real-time monitoring systems can detect incidents as they occur, providing reliable information reflecting actual asset operating conditions. This enables faster incident response that can significantly minimise damage, prevent escalation, help meet regulatory requirements, and increase safety awareness.

Enable remote working

Effective cloud-based digital tools make it possible to securely access data and applications from anywhere. This means that not all employees need to be onsite to log into a local network on a rig, well, power plant or other asset. Onsite workers in the energy sector face a variety of hazards, including heights, small spaces, and malfunctioning equipment. Remote working reduces these risks by reducing the need to be on site. It’s safer to work from the comforts of an office or home with digital collaboration tools.

For example, oil and gas majors have been embracing a trend towards shifting rig management offshore. This enables one person to manage multiple rigs. It also makes it possible for a team of remote workers to be on standby, ready to respond rapidly and efficiently in the event of an emergency anywhere across the globe. This makes it possible to both improve the safety of onshore staff and provide better crisis management to ensure the safety of those who are still needed offshore.

Use digital twin simulations for safer training

Training has always been a staple of energy industry safety programs, and digitalisation can now be a huge difference maker here. With simulations enabled by digital twins, you can provide employees with a safe and controlled environment to practice and improve their skills. This may take the form of augmented reality. It’s safer to make training like real life – but without any real-life risks.

For example, you could use simulated training for high-risk or infrequent scenarios, such as an oil spill or vast power grid outages. You can also provide simple and instant access to safety procedures and asset information digitally. Training in a simulator can also significantly cut training times and costs for turnarounds. All of this helps operators be more confident and approach errors and accidents more competently, improving both overall safety and crisis management.

Sync up for safety

A cloud-based central data repository and contextualised data make it possible to ensure all relevant workers and operators have access to the same data at the same time and interpret it better. This situational awareness provides a shared view of what’s happening around them, a common understanding of these events, and the capability to quickly align on safety measures. It’s safer to have everyone on the same page.

For example, various onsite workers can be collectively made aware of any works, adverse weather or other circumstances nearby that could affect their work and safety. This also makes it possible for remote workers to seamlessly jump in to support with an instant understanding of what’s happening onsite. Overall, this shared view of operating conditions reduces the risk of misunderstandings, human error and delayed response.

Discover how to work safer in the cloud

All of these safer ways of working require cloud infrastructure to consolidate and contextualise your data, making it available securely from anywhere. Choosing the right technology platform is crucial to ensuring you can implement these five tips in the real world as best possible.

About the author

Five tips for energy companies to work safer

Morten Hansen

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