Dickerson: Reporting is key to achieve zero-incident operations
By Joanne Liou, associate editor
Since 1979, the industry’s declining lost-time incidence (LTI) rate has reflected tremendous progress in safety, but at the same time it shows there’s much more to be done before reaching zero. As industry continues to move toward absolutely safe operations, reporting incidents – big and small – is key to achieve zero-incident operations, or ZIO, Larry Dickerson, president and CEO of Diamond Offshore Drilling, explained during his keynote address at the 2013 IADC HSE & Training Conference in Houston last week. “It’s very important that in any safety system you develop a culture of reporting anything that happens. … We’re not going to achieve ZIO by not reporting.”
Incident reporting is an invaluable tool, not only to measure progress but also to support other safety initiatives based on lessons learned. Referring to the LTI rate that hovered around 10 in 1979, Mr Dickerson reasoned that industry did not have a grasp of what it needed to do and what steps it needed to implement. Being safe means more than not hurting people, and one of the key realizations is having process safety, he added. Diamond Offshore implemented its process safety program approximately seven years ago, shortly after the Texas City incident. “Process safety and making sure you do the job right is just as important as making sure handrails are in place and properly painted,” he said. “That is indicative of what has been happening in the last 30 years, where we’re incorporating all the lessons in safety into the way we do our business.”
Specific actions, such as emphasizing process safety, creating an environment to work safely, embedding safety into training, reducing risk tolerance and contributing to safety innovations, are examples of “the things we try to enunciate, things that we know exactly what we’re doing in safety,” Mr Dickerson noted about Diamond Offshore. The JSA is one tool that the company uses to promote working safely, and it enables the company to share what has been learned. “Back in 1979 and 1980, safety reporting was not as robust and keyed in on fatalities,” he said. “Now, with after-action reports, we incorporate into our JSAs lessons learned for virtually everything we do. You can’t just respond to the huge tragedies. You need to respond to everyday operations.”
There is a fine balance between instilling a safety culture and making sure that reporting is taking place, Mr Dickerson stated. Risk is not tolerated, but on the same token, it must be reported. In a recent incident, for example, a relatively new employee climbed a handrail instead of getting a stepladder, and the person fell and broke his arm. “Had he fallen and not broken his arm, we would want to know about that as well. We need to report that it is a near-miss,” Mr Dickerson said.
During training, the company instills that each individual is a safety leader. “Our safety system and reporting are only going to work if we absolutely train everybody,” he said. To help meet training needs, Diamond Offshore is completing the installation of a 180°-view drilling simulator at its Ocean Technology Center in Houston. “As we move forward, we are set to adapt everything that comes along to contribute to safe operations.”
Mr Dickerson was 2009 IADC Contractor of the Year. Click to view video.