Offshore Safety – What is working and what is not

For those who are not familiar with the Center for Offshore Safety (COS), it is the collective “campfire’ where the deepwater oil and gas industry can gather to discuss safety.   One of the more valuable things that COS does is define and track safety performance indicators and lessons learned from incidents in offshore oil and gas.  A recent COS  report digs into industry safety performance.   You can (and should) read the full report here, but here are some of the highlights.

Lifting incidents continue to be the main source of offshore safety incidents, accounting for nearly half of the incidents reported by COS members.   The next three sources were:

  1.  Process safety,
  2. Loss of station resulting in drive off or drift off and
  3. Life boat, life raft, or rescue boat.

Need help getting your safety management program in place or addressing SEMS requirements like procedures or training?  Contact me at KenWells@lifelinestrategies.com.


The high number of lifting incidents shouldn’t surprise anyone; it is the time when forces like gravity and kinetic energy can have the biggest impact on risk.   It is also the place where smart companies focus a lot of pre-planning, pre-slung loads and other safety measure.

The report then goes back and looks at some of the lessons that can be drawn from the incidents.    More than half of the identified areas for improvement were in safe work practices and operating procedures.   This is significant because, while safe work practices were one of the first areas that industry tackled when the SEMS rule went into effect, operating procedures continues to come up as an area for improvement.   About 30 percent of the incidents had roots in weak “Quality of Task Planning and Preparation,” In other words, crews are not planning well enough, either because they are not properly trained or supervised.

There is room improvement in the safety data COS collects.   One of the most significant problems is that it only represents deepwater operators who belong to COS.  But this is a groundbreaking report.  In the past, BSEE has gathered incident data and has publicized it in different forms.   Now industry is taking the lead in identifying weaknesses and addressing them in a very public way.

One Reply to “Offshore Safety – What is working and what is not”

  1. If we are not measuring everything that goes wrong on a daily basis and see this as safety.

    How is anything ever going to improve?

    Same metrics, same GIGo principle.

    Garbage in = Garbage out

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