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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Human System Integration
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
The Human Factors of Process Safety and Worker Empowerment in the Offshore Oil Industry:
A Workshop



This workshop will examine the human factors of worker empowerment in the offshore oil industry in the context of process safety and the broader system in which it is embedded. The workshop committee and participants will review current scientific research from the behavioral and social sciences from fields such as human-systems integration, human factors, naturalistic/recognition primed decision making, hazard recognition and response, risk management, risk analysis, perception and process safety design. The workshop will also explore best practices and lessons learned from other high-risk, high-reliability industries.

The workshop planning committee will define the specific topics to be addressed, develop the agenda, and select and invite speakers and other participants. The two-day public workshop will be held in early 2018 in Houston, Texas. More information will be posted here as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you would like to receive updates about this workshop, please send an email to with your request to be added to the project listserv.

After the workshop, a publication on the proceedings of the workshop presentations and discussions will be prepared by a designated rapporteur and will be available for free on the National Academies website.

The workshop is sponsored by the Gulf Research Program.

Related Reports

Strengthening the Safety Culture of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry (2016)
This report offers recommendations to industry and regulators to strengthen and sustain the safety culture of the offshore oil and gas industry. The report addresses conceptual challenges in defining safety culture, and discusses the empirical support for the safety culture definition offered by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the nine characteristics or elements of a robust safety culture, methods for assessing company safety culture, and barriers to improving safety culture in the offshore industry.

Application of Remote Real-Time Monitoring to Offshore Oil and Gas Operations (2016)
This report provides advice to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) of the U.S. Department of the Interior on the use of remote real-time monitoring (RRTM) to improve the safety and reduce the environmental risks of offshore oil and gas operations. The report also evaluates the role that RRTM could play in condition-based maintenance (CBM), and how BSEE could leverage RRTM into its safety enforcement program.


Improving Self-Escape from Underground Coal Mines (2013)
This report focuses on the preparations for self-escape from underground coal-mines.  The study was set in the context of human-systems integration (HSI), a systems approach that examines the interaction of people, tasks, and equipment and technology in the pursuit of a goal.  It recognizes this interaction occurs within, and is influenced by, the broader environmental context.  A key premise of human-systems integration is that much important information is lost when various tasks within a system are considered individually or in isolation rather than in interaction with the whole system.

Worker Health and Safety on Offshore Wind Farms (2013)
This report explores the adequacy of existing regulations and recommends enhancements to regulations for worker health and safety on Offshore wind farms.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Offshore Safety and Environmental Management Systems (2012)
This report recommends that the Bureaus of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) take a holistic approach to evaluating the effectiveness of offshore oil and gas industry operators' Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) programs.  The report explores in detail SEMS' role in helping to develop a culture of safety, highlights the pros and cons of various methods of assessing effectiveness of a SEMS program, and investigates existing approaches for assessing SMS programs of various U.S. and international regulatory agencies whose safety mandates are similar to that of BSEE.

Macondo Well Deepwater Horizon Blowout: Lessons for Improving Offshore Drilling Safety (2011)
This report examines the causes of the blowout and provides a series of recommendations, for both the oil and gas industry and government regulators, intended to reduce the likelihood and impact of any future losses of well control during offshore drilling.  The report discusses ultimate responsibility and accountability for well integrity and safety of offshore equipment, formal system safety education and training of personnel engaged in offshore drilling, and guidelines that should be established so that well designs incorporate protection against the various credible risks associated with the drilling and abandonment process.

Staff Information

Heather Kreidler, Associate Program Officer
Toby Warden, Board Director




For more information, contact:

   Heather Kreidler
Phone: (202) 334-1326

Mailing Address

Keck Center
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001



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