Change your perspective on the danger of pressure

On a typical day at a well site in Veteran, Alberta, a worker performing a pressure test on a coiled tubing rig was inadvertently hit in the face by the test pipe and died. . Through collaboration with industry, Alberta OH&S and the affected company, this tragic incident resulted in a creative sentencing project from Energy Safety Canada (ESC) that can change the way you think about the dangers of pressure.


Capacity building to manage pressure is the publicly available program born out of this tragedy. It approaches the incident from the perspective of operational learning and encourages the industry to go beyond safety as the absence of incidents and instead see it as the ability to fail safelyeven with the inevitability of human error.


“Our industry has seen substantial improvement in safety performance over the past 30 years, but what got us to this point is not what will take us to the next level,” said Murray Elliott, President and CEO of ESC. “Serious incidents like this are often complex. Understanding the larger context will lead to more effective and meaningful corrective actions. We need to do things differently and open the door to new ways of thinking about safety and operational efficiency.


The Capacity Building to Manage Pressure program consists of a free online course with supporting tools and resources to ensure workers and supervisors are aware of the dangers of pressure. He uses a 3D animated recreation video of the event and highly interactive playful modules to take the individual on a journey to better understand what it takes to improve safety performance.


“The incident is explored using modules and games with the goal that at the end of the course, the user perceives the incident differently,” explains Robert Waterhouse, program manager at Energy Safety Canada. “The goal is to broaden the understanding of the incident and how successful work is done.”


Elliott and Waterhouse discussed the capacity building program to handle pressure when they were interviewed for an episode of Todd Conklin’s show Pre-Crash Investigation Podcast, and they highlighted the importance of organizational learning and capacity building in systems. As Conklin said, “Safety is not the absence of accidents. Security is the presence of resilience, the presence of capacity, the presence of tolerance in a system.


The course lasts approximately four hours and is designed for everyone, from those with boots in the field to those working in the office – it’s for anyone involved in planning, managing and executing work. Visit the Energy Safety Canada site Web page on capacity building to manage pressure to access the video, free course, and all program tools and resources.


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