Hazard identification and risk assessment are at the core of an effective health and safety system. Despite this fundamental, during incident and accident investigation risk assessment processes are sometimes not used effectively and found to be deficient.

The challenge facing both individuals and organizations is that individual risk tolerance and perception of hazards varies significantly according to a host of factors including social and personal values as well as prior experience and beliefs. To truly drive a reduction in incidents a variety of methods need to be used to ensure that workers are aware of the hazards, the risks and the consequences of action/inaction. This will also enable individuals to become aware of their own risk perception and how other factors can affect ones acceptance of risk thereby changing their risk taking behaviour.

This paper presents an innovative method measuring task based risk perception in the form of a computer virtual reality simulation. While not widely used in the oil and gas industry the application of a computer simulation has been valuable in other contexts, such as testing of risk perception in drivers and pilots. This simulation is based on the physical location of a marine based rig during routine rig operations. This simulation therefore gives an important insight into the hazard identification, risk evaluation and risk awareness in the offshore context. Experiences from the application of the simulator are shared and some of the methods of reinforcing the lessons learnt are also discussed.

Possible further developments are considered and in particular how this simulation can be used in the context of both new employees with lack of experience, and experienced staff who may be complacent, as the both groups are vulnerable.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.