Digitalization has improved safety over the past three years, even where cutbacks have been widespread, according to 40 percent of those surveyed by DNV GL.

“Technology has helped us improve safety monitoring systems; data analytics helps us determine which processes, areas and equipment are more accident-prone; while we have wearable equipment to monitor workers in case they faint or fall,” noted one respondent, Lu Nianming, secretary-general of the China Chemical Safety Association (CCSA).

In the context of safety, digitalization can enable the integration and transparent communication of hundreds of key indicators from across an organization to help gain safety insights and make decisions to improve future outcomes.

“For years, oil and gas companies have produced large volumes of data that has been crunched regularly to demonstrate compliance with safety regulations through quantitative and qualitative safety studies,” said Koheila Molazemi, global service area leader for risk management advisory for DNV GL—Oil & Gas. “Digital technologies are now helping us to unlock the value of this data so that it can be used to go beyond reporting compliance and provide insight that helps industry professionals better understand hazards, make critical decisions and communicate risk across the lifecycle of a project.”

Not to be discounted, however, is the potential risk that digitalization can bring to the picture through an increased risk of cybersecurity attacks.

Safety in the oil and gas industry has continued to improve over time. But DNV GL urges caution —pointing to lower investment in safety in recent years, relatively higher concerns identified in the downstream sector, and the concerns expressed by more junior and technical employees.

“We are in an industry that involves risks,” Statoil’s Wærness said. “Safety incidents will happen no matter how much we do, but we can work to get the rate of incidents as low as possible. And to do that we must constantly focus on the need for improvements.”

The State of Safety is a report based on results from DNV GL’s 2018 industry outlook report. To get more insights, read Confidence and Control: The Outlook for the Oil and Gas Industry in 2018.

Source: Automation World