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Knowledge for Prevention:  E-Learning's Power in Preventing the Next Major Incident

 Knowledge for Prevention:  E-Learning's Power in Preventing the Next Major Incident


In the drive to improve safety and minimise risk, some of the energy industry’s major incidents have proven to be its biggest catalysts for change.

With this year marking 35 years since the Piper Alpha tragedy and with the Deepwater Horizon incident a more recent driver of change, our industry has made significant progress in keeping our people and the environment safe, but more needs to be done.

Norwell EDGE was founded in response to the UK government’s investigation into the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico that claimed the lives of 11 people and resulted in the largest spill of oil in marine drilling history.

The outcome of the investigation led to the development of the energy industry’s first comprehensive guidelines on the competency requirements of wells personnel by the Well Life Cycle Practices Forum.

This was the first time the industry had come together to recognise the key role that wells skills play in mitigating major accident hazards, and the demand for new methods to train, develop and measure competency for wells teams.

Our aim for Norwell EDGE was to develop a platform that would improve health, safety, environment, and quality (HSEQ) standards around the globe by broadening people’s technical understanding through easy and affordable access to quality training.

Norwell EDGE has built the industry’s only e-learning platform that aligns with each of these guidelines, and we are proud that many thousands of people around the world have benefited from access to the courses. Not only have we worked hard to open access to operators and service companies but we have also partnered with universities globally to provide free access to thousands of students. However, we know much more can be done.

As an industry, we must work to ensure that all personnel, no matter their role, have a base understanding of the technical fundamentals that impact their work. From well construction through production, well integrity and on to decommissioning. We will all benefit from a workforce with more understanding and knowledge of technical principles.

A shift in approach to training in energy is needed. We must prioritise the transfer of knowledge to the workforce, and we must increase the flow of technical information outward. More information on even the very basic principles of well engineering, well control and well integrity will help to shift the momentum.

We need to empower everyone in our industry to play their part in major accident prevention, and possibly the biggest step we can take is opening up access to basic technical training and awareness like we have not done before. Giving open access to the information that can start to build a foundation of knowledge critical for keeping our wells, people and environment safe.

A modern approach to the old challenge of making learning stick given what we now know about how learners absorb knowledge, simply changing the content of training is not enough to achieve the change needed. It is widely accepted that attention spans have shortened in recent decades and younger generations need and benefit from the short, bitesize approach to learning that is designed to make sure information is retained. It’s that model which Norwell EDGE has been built around.

Interactivity, trial and error and exploration of scenarios in a safe environment are valuable learning tools which are best achieved with the use of blended e-learning techniques including testing, gamification, and media such as video. This blended learning method is proven to boost knowledge retention by more than 50% by repeating and reinforcing information in different ways, without overload.

Access and convenience is everything

Individuals want to learn at a time when they can focus and apply themselves to training and companies want to minimize operational impact which makes an e-learning platform that is accessible outside of the workplace, and at any time of day, an essential asset for engagement with training.

It’s unacceptable for quality e-learning on essential industry topics to be inaccessible or unaffordable for either individuals or companies in emerging or developing regions. We have worked hard to ensure our model creates a level playing-field for energy professionals around the world.

Building the strong foundations needed

To create a robust and continuous learning culture a re-think of not only training content but of the methods themselves is needed. Only then can we ensure that every organisation is developing the competencies throughout their teams that will enable people to have effective, safety-critical conversations that will help minimise the risk of a major incident.

We owe it to future generations to do everything we can to develop safety cultures in our organisations that provide people with the right knowledge and skills to effectively identify risks and be able to make the right decisions quickly when things do go wrong. Combining quality training and technology to deliver ongoing, repeatable learning will play a key role in achieving that.

Read the latest issue of the OGV Energy magazine HERE

Published: 10-07-2023

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