Abstract

High Reliability Organizations (HROs) are organizations with systems that maintain exceptionally low failure rates while operating in environments where the nature of the risk and complexity of serious incidents would be anticipated. HROs such as nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers, and the fire service have no fail missions because the costs of failure are extremely high. Applying the same systems and tools that created their passionate commitment to excellence that permeates every aspect of their operations, other industries can produce their own culture of high reliability where nearly perfect safety and service quality are the norm.

The aim of this paper is to illustrate how the principles, concepts, and processes of HROs, including Crew Resource Management (CRM), can optimize operational execution of a pressure pumping company through increased levels of safety and quality. The contemporary oilfield operating environment requires teams to be proactively aware of emerging threats and to trap errors or incidents to prevent them from escalating into significant incidents.

The paper includes the following themes:

  • A literature review of the principles and concepts of traditional and established HROs from other industries;

  • The process and systems to operationalize HRO principles and concepts within the energy industry; and

  • Two case studies demonstrating how HRO principles and concepts allow teams in the oilfield to reduce system failures and to notice, confront, resolve, and learn from unforeseen problems and failures when they do occur.

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