Human performance

IOGP, together with many sister trade associations, work towards the following vision:

By 2025 we want every organization in the energy industry to be able to say:
  • The well-being of our workforce is a shared imperative.
  • Our leadership demonstrates a culture of trust and inclusion by caring, listening to the workforce, making people feel valued for their contributions and supporting them.
  • Human performance principles are embedded into how we design, operate and maintain our work environments, and we extend this across the whole supply chain and contributors.
We believe that, by working towards these aspiration, it  lays the foundation for the daily delivery of safety and efficiency, it will enable an engaged and empowered workforce, and will allow us to safely supply the world with clean and affordable energy

IOGP advocate for the following five Human Performance principles as the key pillars needed to achieve this vision, namely:

  1. Error is normal
  2. Blame fixes nothing
  3. Context drives behaviour
  4. Learning is vital
  5. How you respond matters

The Human Performance vision and principles are informed by our Human Factors expertise.

What is Human Factors?

Human Factors is the application of what we know about human capabilities and limitations in order to maximize overall system performance. By giving careful consideration to the interactions between humans and technological and organisational elements of a system it is possible to significantly increase the system’s productivity and reliability.

Human Factors addresses the interaction of people with other people, with facilities and with management systems in the workplace. These factors have been shown to have an impact on human performance and safe operations. Human Factors provide practical solutions to reduce incidents while improving productivity.

In the oil and gas industry Human Factors is an essential component in the effort to operate in a safe and efficient manner. Areas where Human Factors has a key role include:

  • Design of tools, equipment and user interfaces in a way that augments the user’s work performance
  • Human and organizational factors in risk assessments and emergency preparedness planning
  • Human behaviour and cognition in accident causation
  • Efficient decision making and teamwork in stressful or critical situations
  • Safety culture and safety behaviour improvement programmes
  • Organisational reliability

Human Factors aims to achieve outstanding performance by proactively identifying risks and improvement opportunities, promoting Safety Leadership and designing improvement strategies, applying best practice tools, and supporting implementation to business and operational functions.

The oil and gas industry has a major accident potential. Both exploration and production rely on advanced human-machine interfaces, and are activities with a complex organisational structure. Increasingly, the work is performed by distributed teams and remotely controlled technology. Human Factors has become an important and integral part of the industry’s approach to safe and efficient operations.

External resources

National Oil and Gas Authorities

Oil and Gas Industry Associations 

  • The American Petroleum Institute– no separate HF page, but you will find HF industry standards here.
  • Center for Chemical Process Safety– a lot of useful resources, including running webinars & courses
  • The Energy Institute (EI)is the professional body for the energy industry, delivering good practice and professionalism across the depth and breadth of the sector.
  • Society of Petroleum Engineers– no separate HF page, but at range of HF related papers and resources.
  • Step Change in Safetyis the UK based partnership with the remit to make the UK the Safest Oil and Gas Exploration and Production province in the world.
  • Energy Institute whose purpose is creating a better energy future for our members and society by accelerating a just global energy transition to net zero.
  • International Marine Contractors Association whose purpose is Enabling thedevelopment of the world’s marine energy resources – safely and sustainably
  • Oil Company International Marine Forum, whose vision is a global marine industry that causes no harm to people or the environment
  • Human Performance in Oil and Gas whose purpose is to establish a membership funded, global resource of guidance, best practice and accessible worksite tools to further implement Human Performance efforts across the Oil and Gas Industry
  • International Association of Drilling Contractors, who are dedicated to promoting innovative technology and safe drilling practices that bring oil and gas to the world’s consumers
  • HeliOffshore whose vision is A safer frontline served by an open, responsive and aligned industry so no lives are lost in offshore aviation.
  • International Well Control Forum whose vision is no risk to life, assets or the natural environment through well control incidents.
  • International Marine Contractors Association – the leading trade association representing the vast majority of contractors and the associated supply chain in the offshore marine construction industry worldwide

HF Professional Societies

HF in other Industries:

Further reading

  1. Vincente, K. (2004) The Human Factor: Revolutionizing the Way We Live with Technology, RandomHouse.
  2. Flin, R., O’Connor, P. and Crichton, M. (2008) Safety at the Sharp End: A Guide to Non-Technical Skills, Ashgate
  3. Reason, J. (1997) Managing the risks of Organisational Accidents, Ashgate, 1997
  4. Dekker, S. (2006) The Field Guide to Understanding Human Error, Ashgate,.
  5. Woods, D., Dekker, S., Cook, R. and Johannesen, L. (2010) Behind Human Error, Ashgate.
  6. Endsley, M., Bolte, B. and Jones, D. (2003) Designing for Situation Awareness: An Approach to User Centred Design, Taylor & Francis.
  7. Norman, D. (2002) The Design of Everyday Things, Basic Books.
  8. Sanders, S. (1992) Human Factors in Engineering and Design 7th Edition, Mcgraw-Hill International Editions.
  9. Perrow, C. (1999) Normal Accidents: Living with High Risk Technologies, Princeton Paperbacks.
  10. Reason, J. (1990) Human Error, Cambridge University Press.
  11. Weick, K. and Sutcliffe, K. (2007) Managing the Unexpected: Resilient Performance in an Age of Uncertainty, Jossey Bass.
  12. Holnagel, E. (2009) The ETTO Principle: Efficiency-Thoroughness Trade-Off, Ashgate.
  13. McPhee, B. (2005) Practical Ergonomics: Application of ergonomics principles in the workplace, Sydney: Coal Services Health and Safety Trust.
  14. Geller, E.S. (2001) The Psychology of Safety Handbook, Lewis Publishers.
  15. Daniels, A. (1999) Bringing Out the Best in People, McGraw-Hill.
  16. Kletz, T. (2001) An Engineer’s View of Human Error, Taylor & Francis.
  17. Dekker, S. (2007) Just Culture: Balancing Safety and Accountability, Ashgate.
  18. Stanton, A., Salmon, P., Walker, G., Baber, C. and Jenkins, D. (2005) Human Factors Methods: A Practical Guide for Engineering and Design, Ashgate.
  19. Hollnagel, E., Paries, J., Woods, D and Wreathall, J. (2011) Resilience Engineering in Practice, Ashgate.
  20. Gander, P. (2003) Sleep in the 24-Hour, The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand
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