LU partners with American Bureau of Shipping to strengthen offshore safety culture

  • Offshore rig, courtesy photo
    Offshore rig, courtesy photo
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The latest success for the nearly two-decade long partnership between the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and Lamar University (LU) is a project to develop an integrated offshore energy industry safety culture evaluation, benchmarking and improvement toolbox.

Dr. Kevin McSweeney, ABS manager of advanced technology & research and Dr. Brian Craig, LU’s dean of engineering and director of the mariner safety research initiative, in collaboration with the ABS Group and the University of Houston led the project. They received $1,440,330 from the National Academies of Sciences’ Gulf Research Program’s Safer Offshore Energy Systems Grants to promote a culture of safety in the oil and gas industry.

The funding from the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences is part of $7.25 Million awarded to eight projects aimed at advancing safety offshore. The Gulf Research Program’s competitive Safer Offshore Energy Systems Grants program supports projects that produce datasets, strategies and tools for measurement that will promote a culture of safety in the offshore oil and gas industry.

“The main purpose of the project is to provide practical, field-tested tools and a benchmarking database customized for assessing and improving safety culture in the offshore environment to help the global offshore industry continuously improve its health, safety and environment performance in a sustainable fashion,” said Craig.  “It is critical for the industry to prevent tragedies and if we fall short, we have the responsibility to learn the critical lessons from our shortcomings and develop corrective actions to prevent occurrence and reoccurrence to protect our workers, environment and our nation’s economy.”

The funding for this critical research is part of the funding made available after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy that resulted in 11 fatalities, 17 nonfatal injuries, millions of barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and cost more than $60 billion.

“Companies in high-hazard industries have learned that organizational factors have been important contributors to major accidents,” said Craig. “Some of those organizational characteristics have to do with not having a proper safety culture, failing to exhibit strong leadership to support the culture and not creating the consistent operational discipline at various organizational levels. Our project seeks to remedy these issues.”

For more information about the Gulf Research Program’s latest research funding, go to www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=01162020 and for more information about the ABS/LU Mariner Safety Research Initiative, visit maritime.lamar.edu.