Lessons from aviation: Applying threat and error management framework to cases from the offshore drilling industry
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After the Macondo blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, several actions have been proposed to enhance safety in drilling operations. Among the suggested safety measures is the application of aviation style teamwork training (CRM) for drilling personnel. To successfully adapt the CRM framework to the drilling context, the content of the training must be established to reflect the challenges in real life drilling situations. Like pilots, the drilling crew is exposed to complex challenges which can be classified as threats. These threats are regarded as elements outside of the crew’s control which are increasing complexity and require the crew’s attention and management if safety margins are to be attained. The threats are classified as environmental (weather, geology etc.) and organizational threats (Management of change operational pressure, distractions etc.). In the face of threats, errors can be costly if not detected and managed correctly. Three basic concepts are stressed in the Threat and Error Management framework: Anticipation, recognition and recovery. The basic idea is that the unexpected threats are best handled if they are met with vigilance. For the purpose of applying the TEM framework to drilling processes, case studies have been performed on two well control incidents. The TEM framework and case studies are presented in the paper.