A New Culture of Safety
Complacency about risks to safety had catastrophic consequences in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Much as the aviation, chemical, and nuclear power industries have done in response to disasters, the oil and gas industry must move towards developing a notion of safety as a collective responsibility.
The oil and gas industry should establish a "Safety Institute." Similar to organizations in other high-risk industries, this would be an industry-sponsored entity aimed at developing, adopting, and enforcing standards of excellence to ensure continuous improvement in safety and operational integrity offshore.
The safety institute's audit process and follow-up should be able to assess a company's safety culture and its commitment to principles of system safety in practice, from design and operations to incident investigation and feedback. Audit results should be used to hold companies accountable for their performance to each other and to certain business counterparts, including joint-venture partners; suppliers; insurers; and—through assurances by the companies' directors—investors.