Human Factors Engineering (HFE) is now widely applied in the design phase of capital projects in order to build human-centred facilities, hence improving individual performance and safety of operations. The same concept, from the perspective of an EPCI Contractor, translates into the consideration of Human Factors during the definition of Construction/Fabrication/Installation methods, as well as during the Constructability reviews, HSE risk management process, etc.
Multidisciplinary workshops targeting the early identification of construction hazards, accessibility and workspace issues can be performed using the tools available in the different phases of the project: at the earliest stages, a desktop review of erection sequences, installation drawings and facility layouts can support the identification of HSE criticalities when it is still possible to design them out or to mitigate hazards and bottlenecks. At a later stage a dedicated 3D Model Review can anticipate those areas with limited accessibility for welding, testing, material handling and rescue (e.g. carrying a stretcher or wearing a SCBA).
As a result, by considering the interactions between workers, facility, tools and working environment, a project team can identify any additional controls which may improve the overall human performance in the construction phase. In Saipem’s experience, this has resulted in the provision of additional temporary structures to access welding locations during the installation of an offshore platform, in the procurement of advanced confined space equipment and monitoring systems for the fabrication of buoyancy tanks in a remote area where heat stress could be an issue, and in the identification of additional means of access for the rescue teams in the event that any major emergency onboard would impair the use of the existing gangways, during the integration phase of a FPU. These examples, which required an initial investment, proved to pay back. Maximization of workspace and minimization of fatigue and discomfort led to an improvement in the human performance which reduced execution times or improved welding repair rate.
The scope of this paper is to describe Saipem’s experience in the consideration of Human Factors during the construction/fabrication/installation phase of the project, in order to propose a structured approach to the matter for the Oil & Gas Industry.