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Safety in Offshore Oil and Gas Industry

Health and safety is an important feature of a working environment. Some occupations might have smaller risk of accidents and fatality, but overall, safety always become major concerns in all working environments. In offices and oil rigs, for example, there are measurements of safety although they might significantly differ from another kind of jobs. In some industries, where workers are working in high hazard sites, there are even special laws that regulated safety standards for workers. There are also low hazard working areas, but requires significant safety measurements, such as hospice facilities.

On the other hand, safety is also becoming more important when a single task is performed by multiple people working in shifts. These types of work require special standards to ensure safety within the job. The type of work exist in various industries, like the chemical industry, nuclear reprocessing industry, paper manufacturing industry, oil refining industry and many types of medical facilities. In a hospice facility for example, a simple error like miscommunication between nurses among shifts could resulted disastrous mistakes and fatality for patients.

On the other hand, in industries that involved chemicals and waste management, failing to maintain proper paperwork could resulted great environmental hazard for surrounding ecosystem.

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Within this paper, we are discussing the safety problems that could occur within jobs that contain the transfer of responsibilities from previous shift to the next. To present more focus and detail discussion, we will specifically discuss the offshore oil and gas industry and how they manage shift handovers as an effort of minimizing accident risks. Offshore oil and gas exploration and production are continuous 24-hour operations.

The job is designed that way to ensure maximization of the exploration, production and support activities. However, safety should never be second in consideration of the design. Within this industry, personnel generally remain in the offshore installation for 2-4 week periods, working in a 12 hour shifts. The personnel handle complex technical system which demanded reliable information processing functions and decision making skills. Therefore, there are several conditions required to ensure the proper handling of each technical system.

Those conditions are: ? Clear understanding of the future goals of production ? Accurate mental representation of the current state of the process ? Accurate internal model of process dynamics (Kragt and Laandweerd, 1974) There are several characteristics of continuous process tasks that require attention. As an example, for a process system that requires a long response time between process alterations and effects -such as the oil and gas industry-, adequate communication of information is shift handover become increasingly important.

Within these types of processes, actions of a personnel might not have an apparent effect until the subsequent shifts, therefore, the absent of an adequate information exchange could cause disasters within the task (Lardner, 1992). Other characteristics might depend on distinctive feature of every industry performing the continuous process. In the offshore industry for example, tasks are performed within geographically isolated areas and using unusual shift patterns.

All crew might leave the facility in a short period of time, causing communication error in shift handover to have more severe effects. A study revealed that within this industry, the lowest level of alertness and performance occurred within the shift change phase (Parkes, 1993). Furthermore, in the offshore industry, there is a high level of noise, causing miscommunication in verbal manner to be more possible (Ross, 1978). Within the next chapters we will present several available concepts which aim to increase the quality of task management in offshore industry

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