Oceans of knowledge

Safety at Bluewater

Areas of focus
To enable us to manage safety in an effective way we distinguish several aspects of our business and tailor our approach to them.

For projects the primary focus is on designing to adequate standards. During projects we work with subcontractors selected on the basis of HSE criteria and audited to confirm their control of safety. During commissioning we manage safety through a permit to work system, which is different from the system we use during operation.

When our FPSOs are in production we rely on procedures and the competence of our crew. When incidents do occur, we tailor our response to the severity of the occurrence. A big incident will see involvement of both onshore and offshore personnel whereas a smaller incident may be dealt with locally.

When our After-Sales department is involved in the servicing of SPM buoys, again the risk assessment and control approach is different from that during design or FPSO operations.

Incidents happen, also at Bluewater. Even though we are confident that all incidents can be prevented, we have not yet reached our goal of an incident-free workplace.

When incidents occur it is easy enough to invent barriers to prevent the incident from reoccurring. However, unless the cause of the incident is identified, we cannot be sure that those barriers will eliminate similar incidents. This is why the investigation of incidents and near-misses to understand their causes is an important means of improving our control over hazards. It is essential that all incidents, injuries and near-misses are reported. We encourage reporting by our blame-free reporting culture, based on the philosophy that while an individual can make mistakes, our management systems should radically reduce the probability of such mistakes.

After having established the root causes, we take appropriate measures to prevent the incident from reoccurring.

While analysing incidents and near-misses we realised that certain root causes occurred at a higher frequency than others. We then screened all incidents, root causes and recommendations gathered in the incident data to discover a pattern in root causes. An approach that specifically targets these patterns will help us further improve our safety performance.

As an incident is the result of a combination of many technical, organisational and human root causes we decided to classify those causes according to the Eindhoven Classification Model. This model enabled us to standardise our analysis of incidents and near-misses, and also offered a Classification/Action Matrix to single out the preferred action in terms of expected effectiveness.