Major accident investigations in the energy sector have highlighted the protective role of non-technical skills. These are the cognitive and social skills that complement technical skills to achieve safe and efficient performance. They include situation awareness, decision making, leadership and teamwork: skills that are influenced by performance shaping factors, such as stress and fatigue. These skills are the focus of ongoing human factors research to provide an evidence base for training in aviation and other high reliaibility industries, in the form of Crew Resource Management courses. Our behavioural research from flightdecks and operating theatres has identified key non-technical skills for airline pilots, surgeons, anaesthetists and scrub nurses. These taxonomies have been developed into observational rating systems for workplace based competence assessment of non-technical skills which are now used in a number of countries. Drawing from this research, as well as from two recently completed projects on Crew Resource Management, sponsored by the Energy Institute and OGP (Oil and Gas Producers), this paper will examine background research on non-technical skills for wells operations and optimal methods for introducing a non-technical skills approach to the energy sector. It will examine methods of indentifying key non-technical skills for target occupations and will consider emerging issues relating to Crew Resource Management training design and implementation. Professional and scientific implications of non-technical skills assessment procedures will also be discussed.

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