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Maintenance: Learning from incidents prevents major accidents

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway’s (PSA’s) seminar on learning from and following-up incidents with maintenance contractors presented the results of a PSA-SINTEF project on learning and follow-up of undesirable incidents on the part of the contractors, and how they learn from and follow-up incidents, especially with regard to preventing major accidents.


Maintenance has also proven to be a contributing factor for major accidents both within the petroleum activity and other activities/industries. The maintenance contractors are central players with regard to ensuring that the maintenance is carried out in a way that helps avoid accidents. An important element of this is learning from undesirable incidents.

The major accident potential in the petroleum activity makes the safety work in general, and in particular the maintenance of safety-critical equipment, a high priority.

Rapporten åpnes i nytt vindu.

The report from the PSA-SINTEF project e.g. concludes that

  • The biggest improvement potential appears to be connected to measures and learning, as compared with reporting and investigation.
  • As regards measures and learning, evaluation of measures is viewed as a challenging process, and learning as a topic is not often communicated or requested.
  • The practice of closing measures is generally that measures are closed after they have been implemented, not after the measure has been assessed with regard to whether it has had the desired effect.

The seminar presentations from Reinertsen and Beerenberg were very similar with regard to what they are ”struggling with”.

With regard to what promotes learning, SINTEF drew attention to the following aspects as particularly important:

  • Stop finger-pointing, seek understanding
  • Don’t forget; the story must live on
  • Accept learning as a skill - it must be maintained
  • Curb the urge to fix it with a procedure

In addition, based on the knowledge they have on undesirable incidents and major accidents, and on (potential) learning from these:

  • Follow-up measures – until after the effect has been measured
  • Think before you act – think long-term
  • Establish a dialogue/direct contact with the authorities
  • Keep learning from incidents – don’t forget
  • Don’t be surprised – expect the worst
  • Competence must be utilised wherever it is

You can read more about this in the attached presentations (In Norwegian). Useful information regarding the actual survey and the results can be found in the attached report.
More than 80 people attended the seminar, with the majority being contractor employees.


Contact information
Semsudin Leto
Semsudin.Leto@ptil.no
tel. +47 51 87 63 43

Hans Spilde
Hans.Spilde@ptil.no
tel. +47 51 87 61 24