Safety is preparing for reality in virtual reality

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BP drilling teams train in virtual reality simulators, so we are better prepared.


BP takes a comprehensive approach to training its workers, combining rigorous standards, world-class instruction and sophisticated tools to prevent accidents and injuries.

How BP works

BP’s approach starts with its core values as a company, including safety, excellence and respect. These values define BP, and its people strive to demonstrate them in all aspects of their work.

BP also has company-wide guidelines for how to operate, which it calls its Operating Management System (OMS), and it organizes people according to their functional responsibilities. Each function has its own rules and requirements — consistent with BP’s broader OMS guidelines — for how to do particular jobs.

In the company’s Global Wells Organization, for example, BP drillers around the world meet specific requirements in their training, contractor management and well operations. This helps ensure that BP teams in the Gulf of Mexico conduct well operations in a similar way to teams in the Caspian Sea.

All BP teams — no matter where they work or what they do — can consult with the company’s Safety and Operational Risk (S&OR) organization if they have any questions about how to safely execute their jobs. While front-line workers still have the primary responsibility for safe and reliable operations, the S&OR organization works alongside BP businesses to deliver an independent view of risk, offering an additional and valuable layer of assistance and expertise.

Taken all together, BP’s values, OMS, functional organizations and S&OR team provide the framework and the support to operate safely.

How BP trains

BP’s training programs emphasize, not just classroom instruction, but hands-on simulation. The company replicates scenarios its teams are likely to encounter, as well as potential challenges that, though unlikely, BP expects people to be ready to handle.

For example, through BP’s partnership with Maersk Training, both employees and contractors train on lifelike, state-of-the-art simulators that can replicate nearly every critical job on an offshore drilling rig. BP uses the simulation facilities to run customized exercises that allow its offshore teams to practice scenarios relevant to specific wells, and to prepare for a wide range of possible contingencies.

The company also uses simulators to train workers at its refineries and chemical plants. Much like the offshore simulators, these systems allow people to practice different job tasks — such as unit start-up and shutdown, and pump and valve operations — in both normal and abnormal conditions, which helps them learn how to monitor for potential problems and avoid accidents.

How BP responds

While BP instructs, trains and practices to prevent accidents, the company also prepares its teams to respond in the unlikely event that one were to occur. This way, if an accident were to happen, BP could quickly take the steps necessary to minimize its impact and protect people and the environment.

BP’s response plans and preparation incorporate what it has learned over many years of operation, including from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident. For example, the company has global standards and experts to help ensure that teams in deepwater regions are prepared and equipped to respond to an oil spill, and it has shared research and best practices with governments, partners and competitors around the world.

Even as BP has prepared to respond to an accident, the company also has worked hard to ensure that such a response is never needed. Among other initiatives, BP continues to work with industry members to improve standards on the safety and reliability of subsea blowout preventers and other critical equipment.