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Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2017 Annual Meeting
Situation Awareness Offshore: Relevant Influencing Factors and Risks
W. Sloane Hoyle and S. Camille Peres, PhD.
Not subject to U.S. copyright restrictions. DOI 10.1177/1541931213601913
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
Offshore operations are an inherently hazardous activities that can result in catastrophic outcomes. The
amalgamation of different hazards, constraints, and demands on offshore platforms can presents a
substantial threat to the performance, productivity, and safety of workers. For most industrial accidents,
there is a causal chain between human errors and organizational conditions. An investigation into the
Macondo incident identified failures of situation awareness (SA) and risk perception as root causes of the
disaster. Improving worker SA has become an important objective for the Oil and Gas industry. SA is a
distinct, safety critical component for workers operating in complex, high-risk, and interactive work
environments. Possession and maintenance of good quality SA is important for personnel whose work can
be hazardous, complex, and pressured by time constraints. The drilling environment can change suddenly
and for a drill crew, with an improper decision or inattention, the end result can be loss of life, severe
injury, and cost millions of dollars in production loss. Offshore workers need to acquire and integrate
information under operational conditions while contending with competing sources of information for
their attention. SA can serve as a predictor of performance and has been particularly important where
technical and situational complexity impacts the decision making efforts of the driller. A scoping
literature review was conducted in order to identify how the influencing factors of elements of human
factors on personnel and environmental safety, operational costs, and loss of time. Numerous databases
were searched (e.g., EBSCOhost, Medline, PsychInfo, Science Direct) in combination other databases
search using key terms: human factors or ergonomics and offshore with all of the following: drilling,
production, fatigue, situation awareness, cognitive, oil and gas, as well as a search for human factors
offshore and ergonomics offshore and human error offshore. Finally, our primary studies search was
supplemented with a search of papers and abstracts within conferences. The fields of interest included
stress, fatigue, interface design, human machine interaction, automation, safety culture and safety climate,
risk perception and awareness. The purpose of this research was to present a summary of the current
literature on the status of the oil and gas industry with regard to the adoption and integration of Human
Factors methods, principles, and processes. Specific objectives were to summarize the state of the science
regarding situation awareness for offshore operations, understand the importance of situation awareness
for this environment, and determine key influencing factors that could affect drillers’ performance.
Acknowledgments. This research is part of a larger project which is jointly funded by The Ocean Energy
Safety Institute (OESI). The views presented are those of the researcher team, and should not be taken to
represent the position or policy of the industrial sponsors.
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Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2017 Annual Meeting
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Cognition, Technology & Work, 8(4), 255-267.
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