Safety results within the oil & gas industry have shown continuous improvement in the last decade, with particular focus placed on the equipment and process elements. The challenges faced in reaching and maintaining a zero incident work environment will now hinge around managing the "human factor" whilst also maintaining the equipment and process standards achieved to date. To influence the results we will have to influence the people.

In 1999, we presented a paper in the Aberdeen SPE conference based upon a proactive observation and feedback process – people were the focus. In 2004, at the SPE Calgary SPE conference we presented a paper on Performance Leadership Coaching, again focusing on the potential of fully appreciating the human factor.

Now, after extensive research and testing involving over 2000 workers, the ability to better manage the "human factor" has been uncovered, and a method for practical application established using the "e- colours process". We have developed and refined a process for using personality traits, not only as a communication tool but also as a risk management tool. This methodology is being tried and tested offshore today.

It has always been stated that there is no "silver bullet" when it comes to safety. Yet we all seek the next step change in safety excellence and the results that goal implies. If indeed we are to make the paradigm shift required then it will only come through taking the time and effort to understand human being's actions and reactions, in a context that any roustabout, roughneck or supervisor, can appreciate while working on the job at hand.

What has become evident through our extensive research in the field, offshore, is a clear picture of an element that has eluded us in the past.

People of the same personality traits and tendencies (identified by us using the e-colours) do in fact, have the same approach to safety and their perception of risk tolerance, even to a point of predicting, when asked, how they could get hurt.

This process very much supports the ethos of the SPE conference which is founded upon "Living and Working in Harmony". This can only be achieved by understanding the people with whom we work.

We have some clear examples of how this process works and indeed how lives could have been saved if utilised.

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