Human Factors at the DWOP
15th April 2019
Whilst facilitating a recent DWOP for a deepwater project, our client challenged us to demonstrate to the assembled group how we would apply Human Factors at the well-site. We chose to show the group a decision-making tool that will be practiced with, and used by the crews, on the rig. We demonstrated the differences between making a decision which is non-technical versus a technical decision.
If pilots have to divert the aircraft, then they have to calculate the aircraft’s endurance: how far the fuel will take them and for what duration they can fly. They will also need to gauge how much time there is to make their choice. These are technical decisions, with a defined technical answer. Where the pilots physically should or could go has no technical answer – different pilots may come to different solutions. The destination chosen is based on non-technical issues, therefore the pilots will use a distinct decision-making process to choose the safest and most efficient route. Thus, the solution may be different for different pilots, likely not, but the decision-making process remains constant.
At the rig, a cement recipe may be designed. Volumes, capacities, efficiency and pumping times are numbers which can be calculated. A maximum pump rate without losses is a predetermined figure, based on a physical test. If queried, one can provide technical answers in relation to this task for pumping of cement.
If there were a delay at the batch tank during mixing and a problem with the cement pump; i.e. restricting pumping speed, the team may exceed the ‘safe’ pumping time of the cement. The team can provide a technical answer for the new pumping time.
If pumping has begun and surface pressure is higher than expected, then the team needs to decide whether to; do nothing and continue to pump. Do they reverse out? Do they cease, dump what is left and take whatever action is needed to get rid of the surplus in the string? If dumping, where does the cement go? How does the team handle the fluid?
Volumes and durations can always be calculated. Because thickening time is an estimate, the decision to ‘Do nothing’ or ‘dump’ require non-technical answers. The team needs a tool to assist in the decision-making process. The team will also need to ascertain how much time there is to make the decision before taking any action – this is an element of the decision-making tool’s process.
The teams at the DWOP enjoyed the exercise and individuals said they got a good insight to a process from aviation decision making. But we can’t just give a show-&-tell on a specific process and expect it to be used straight off the bat – we need to let them practice using the tool and provide feedback on how well they applied the process. That’s where our coaches assist wellsite teams to further develop successful behaviours and skills that ultimately enhance safety and performance.
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