Operational Risk Management is now a board level challenge for all companies in our industry. Recent tragic events strongly indicate a lack of awareness and understanding of the major process safety hazards and their risks by the frontline. This increases the potential for further process safety incidents. Furthermore, the lack of visibility of frontline cumulative risk and overall risk profiles is seriously impacting management efforts to fundamentally improve operational risk management and the efficiency and effectiveness of frontline operations.

To address these issues, a fundamental change in the way frontline operations are managed is needed. New processes are required that operationalize the safe work execution rules and establish structured processes to ensure that people are guided to the correct operational decisions that are appropriate to their conditions and context. Technology can be a significant enabler of business process in oil and gas industry as it has been for other industries.

Frontline operations have changed very little in the past 40 years making it difficult for frontline workers to consistently make the right decisions without the right tools. It is ironic that supermarket checkout operators have access to more technology than frontline technicians yet the consequences of each making mistakes bears no comparison.

The added benefit of deploying the right technology in frontline work execution is the access to real data that is generated as part of routine frontline work. This data can provide insight into how work is actually is done, how well it is planned and how well engaged the frontline is in process safety management. For the first time, management is able to have access to new leading indicators of both operational risk and work efficiency. Management can now exercise oversight and use the data to not only demonstrate compliance but build the foundation for continually improving operational performance.

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