Since the disastrous events of Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 in 1972, KLM 408/Pan AM 736 in 1977 and British Midlands 92 in 1989, the aviation community have worked together to develop, deploy and mandate crew resource management (CRM) training for aircrews with recognisable benefits being shown in terms of operational safety, crew performance and cost savings. Unfortunately, it took a number of major incidents in the Oil and Gas sector (Piper Alpha in 1988, Montara in 2009 and Macondo in 2010) to raise the priority of human factors and crew resource management training despite papers being written to this effect. From 2012 onwards, the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) published three reports in the form of Reports 460, 501 and 502. At this point, there was clarity of what Well Operations CRM (WOCRM) should consist of and how it should be deployed.
This report covers the delivery of WOCRM training and individual coaching to the supervisors from one prime operator who had contracted four drilling rigs operating under three drilling companies in a Middle East location. Over an 8-month period, 121 supervisors from a multitude of nationalities, cultures and experiences were trained and coached on the skills required for effective WOCRM. The training used Report 502 as the basis for the course content but went futher and one-to-one coaching was also provided on the rigs to consolidate classroom learning.
This paper will identify the challenges faced in deploying such training, given that much of the research into WOCRM has been carried out in single cultural environments e.g. the North Sea or the USA, and other research has shown that difference in culture can have an impact on the effectiveness of ‘simple’ Crew Resource Management (CRM) training.
There were demonstrated rewards and benefits with performance and efficiencies being improved. 1100 hours of training and coaching was delivered to more than 26 nationalities across the full spectrum of roles ranging from drilling supervisor and OIM to the assistant crane operators & assistant drillers offshore, and where the majority of crews were non-native English speakers. However, as has been recognised in other domains, measuring these improvements is a considerable challenge and should not be underestimated despite the non-tangible gains observed in other domains.
Finally, the paper will show that the development of WOCRM skills cannot be done via a ‘sheep dip’ approach. Furthmore, nationalistic cultures need to be taken into account when developing WOCRM training interventions; they need to be tailored to individual crew-members and specific teams. Finally, it should be noted that training alone is extremely unlikely to deliver the expected benefits and as a consequence, strong leadership and long-term commitment is essential, with a need to deliver coaching and continued development at the workplace and not just in the classroom.