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Safety culture in offshore oil and gas: National Academies awards grants for project development

Photo: luoman/iStockphoto

Washington — Via its Gulf Research Program, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine has awarded eight grants totaling nearly $7.3 million to projects aimed at enhancing safety culture in the offshore oil and gas industry.

The GRP grants support projects that produce data sets, strategies and tools for measurement to help ensure the safety of workers and the protection of the environment in the Gulf of Mexico. “A culture of safety has many characteristics,” Kelly Oskvig, senior program officer of the GRP’s Safer Offshore Energy Systems initiatives, said in a press release. “Through this grants competition, we hope to provide the tools to help strengthen some of those characteristics.”

The eight SOES projects are:

  • Bringing High-Reliability Safety Culture Decisions into Focus: Training with Interactive Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping ($684,054), directed by Portland State University, focuses on raising awareness among frontline managers of best practices from other high-risk industries.
  • Employee Well-Being and Mindfulness as Predictors of Process and Personal Safety ($828,113), led by the University of Houston, examines how mindfulness exercises can affect safety culture, employee burnout and well-being, and safety behavior compliance.
  • Safety Reporting Action Program for Offshore Oil and Gas Industry in the Gulf of Mexico ($755,851), led by the University of North Dakota, focuses on offshore oil and gas safety regulators’ need for a more proactive system for workers to report incidents and near misses.




  • Measuring and Improving Blended Project-Safety Culture in Operations of Offshore Oil and Gas Facilities ($733,631) is a Texas A&M University-led effort to develop quantifiable measurements of safety culture improvements specific to activity, team and type of offshore installation.
  • Aggregating Essential Exposure Data to Enable Meaningful Analysis of Safety Incident Rates Around the World ($739,992), directed by the American Bureau of Shipping, focuses on developing a comprehensive global offshore incident data set to lay a foundation for predictive modeling initiatives.
  • Development of an Evidence-Based, Multilevel Safety Culture Assessment Battery for the Offshore Industry ($1.1 million), directed by The Group for Organizational Effectiveness, aims to develop a set of evidence-based assessment tools to diagnose, measure and track individual safety readiness; a team’s safety assumptions, values and beliefs; team leader and team member behaviors; and an organization’s safety practices and policies.
  • EMPOWER Safety Dashboards: Evaluate, Measure, and Promote Offshore Worker Engagement and Readiness ($943,008), led by Texas A&M, aims to develop and test field-friendly measurement tools and design, develop and evaluate a dashboard called EMPOWER (Evaluate, Measure, Promote Offshore Worker Engagement and Readiness).
  • Developing an Integrated Offshore Energy Industry Safety Culture Evaluation, Benchmarking, and Improvement Toolbox ($1.4 million), directed by ABS, focuses on developing a roadmap to evaluate and improve organizational safety culture, reduce unsafe behaviors, enhance individual performance, and reduce near misses and incidents.



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