Revolutionise Oil Rig Inspections: Streamline with Checklists



Oil and gas technical inspections are a vital ingredient to a quality control program for your rig equipment in this instance. Unfortunately, not all oil and gas checklists used in technical inspections were created equal. Many oil and gas companies in the United States are not getting the most value out of their checklists. There are several recommended practices to get the most out of yours.

Why Have a Checklist?

Before we get into the recommended best practices, let us dispense with some housekeeping. Why are checklists for your oil rig inspection useful in quality control? There are two primary reasons:

  1. Build awareness: The Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reveals that fatal injuries on drilling contractors in the oil and gas industry have been increasing steadily since 2016. Checklists help highlight hazards and determine the risk that a safety hazard will lead to an adverse outcome such as death or injury.
  2. Build a historical record: Checklists are part of the oil and gas industry's maintenance record. They are also a critical element of asset management.

Some of the secondary purposes of oil industry checklists include:

  • Ensuring consistency and structure in the oil and gas inspection process in the oil and gas rig inspections.
  • Recording both compliant and non-compliant issues with notes and photographs.
  • Gathering and recording field data.
  • Gathering raw data to support quality management and improvement.
  • Collecting photographs and measurements adequate for off-site personnel to conduct a virtual inspection instead of a visual inspection alone.

When you create a checklist, refer back to this list to confirm it serves the intended purposes.

Read 8 Best Practices for Documenting NIOSH Compliant Rig Inspections

Key Challenges When Creating Checklists

Knowledge is a learning process. Since humans are imperfect, failing is a critical step on the learning curve. Trial and error, brainstorming, collaboration and creative tasks all embrace and encourage failure in your drilling operations. This then precipitates productivity, progress and maturation. In fact, personal development coaches will tell you to "fail early and fail often”.

The oil and gas industry is one of the main exceptions to this general rule, however. In this industry, there is no room for failure and procedural discipline is a matter of life and death. Critical high-risk tasks must be performed with an "I know" rather than an "I think" mentality. Personnel must achieve first-time quality. 

A rigorous checklist culture is the answer. Inspection checklists are the solution to eliminating human error and guaranteeing safety in oil and gas.


Oil and Gas Checklist Best Practices

Below are the recommended practices to get the most out of your oil and gas checklists. 

Avoid Reproducing the Specification

The inspection checklist design impacts the time and accuracy of results. To inspect your control equipment for quality issues, you must have some key information about the asset's specifications.

Unfortunately, some site managers sometimes duplicate all the specifications on the checklist. Since most specifications are lengthy, the result is a massive, bulky checklist that is not very useful. Avoid such a situation by extracting the most pertinent information from the specifications without reproducing it. 

Concentrate on the Most Common Non-Compliant Issues

Checklists should be primarily focused on recurring non-compliant issues. This is where you want to focus most of your energy. Doing this keeps you regularly aware of the problems and ensures you constantly address them.

Checklists should be reviewed periodically to eliminate issues that have a 100% pass rate every time. New and recurring issues should be added when identified. 

The only exception to this rule is critical high-risk items – those whose failure is not an option because it could lead to a catastrophe.

KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)

The US Navy popularized the KISS design principle in 1960. The gist of the postulate is that in any design, simplicity is key. Avoid unnecessary complexity at all costs. A checklist primarily heightens awareness about critical high-risk or high-probability issues. It can only do this if it is concise and easy enough for field personnel to understand and use. 

Unnecessary complexity only adds to the likelihood of human error. 

Read How to create an Oil and Gas Walkthrough Inspection Checklist

Each Checkpoint Is Unique

Every checkpoint in the oil and gas facility serves a different purpose. Therefore, the type of information captured, and the methods used also differ. 

For example, some items such as piping junctions will include a check for leaks, while a fire protection safety check on a fire extinguisher would check if the nozzle is working and if the pressure gauge is within the operable range. 

Each feature will have different documentation methods. There are several methods at your disposal depending on each feature. They include checkboxes, free-form observation notes and comments, photographs with timestamps, mark-up, GPS location and many more. 

Related: NOISH Rig Checklist Example - Chain Sling

Related: NOISH Rig Checklist Example - Energy Isolation Inspection Checklist

Related: NOISH Rig Checklist Example - Emergency Planning Inspection Checklist

Related: NOISH Rig Checklist Example - Power Tools Inspection Checklist

Future-Proof Your Checklists 

Future-proofing your checklists is about maintaining a record of the inspection using photographs and notes. Doing this provides viewers with a virtual inspection experience. Other stakeholders can have the confidence that the inspections were done correctly. 

In case of an adverse event in the future, there is a record to audit and trace responsibility. 

Eliminate Ambiguity

In keeping with the KISS principle, checklists should also be free from ambiguity. A word, phrase, or statement should not be open to different interpretations. For example, words such as "proper", "correct", "verify" and so forth can be interpreted differently depending on the context. 

Ambiguity is best avoided by including specific measurements, tolerances, temperatures, and other specific data that paints a complete picture for future readers. 

For clarity, present checkpoints as declarative statements rather than questions. A declarative statement communicates information, offers an explanation, or provides a fact. 

These are just some of the best practices to improve technical inspections and ensure equipment safety in the oil and gas industries for your rig operations. If you're serious about protecting your company from avoidable risks and issues, FTQ360 software for oil and gas inspections can help. And we have created a complete library of ready to use NIOSH Rig Check checklists, you can click to see examples for Chain Slings and Emergency Response Plan.

Book a free demo of our global platform for oil and gas quality and safety-critical inspections.

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