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Boundless industry, or clear limits of tolerance?

What ideas do we have about boundaries, and what consequences may result from moving boundaries that we are used to dealing with? Eirik Bjerkebæk, Principal Engineer in the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, will put both boundaries and critical limits on the agenda for the Safety Forum's annual conference 2005.

"Boundaries in working life are subjective, in other words, they vary from person to person, and from company to company. Boundaries are the frameworks that surround us every day - as employees and employers, as companies and as an industry," says Bjerkebæk- moderator of the session entitled "About boundaries and boundlessness in the petroleum industry."

Lose power
"A relevant example of boundaries being moved is when previous statutory rules mandating employee participation are transferred to the collective agreements. Similarly, when employees are expected to work longer weeks and to a higher retirement age, or if new forms of operation are introduced that require mobility and restrict where employees may choose to live. Boundaries are also shifted when technology makes it possible to control parts of the daily petroleum activities on the Shelf from other locations," Bjerkebæk explains.

Bjerkebæk points out that the discussion about moving borders will largely be linked to an assessment of the balance between the needs of different parties.
"However, wanting to move boundaries is a necessary basis for development. We have to change to survive, both as an industry and as a society. What we are really talking about is how the borders should be shifted, and who should be allowed to participate in the process. In other words, how we can make moving boundaries into the greatest possible win-win situation," he emphasizes.

Human performance and tolerance limits will also be a topic explored in greater depth in the presentation given by professor emeritus Holger Ursin of the University of Bergen, "Boundless work". Ursin is internationally renowned for his contribution to understanding how we react to stress, as well as for his contributions towards building bridges between psychology and biology/medicine.

The power of conceptions
"What makes people sick, what kinds of changes are okay with us, and what power can our conceptions about moving boundaries wield over us? Recent research indicates that the power of our expectations may be greater than we have been willing to acknowledge," says Bjerkebæk. Under the title "Boundless operating concepts in a virtual reality" Senior Adviser Roy Ruså, Petoro, will address the companies' needs for change and moving boundaries - from the perspectives of both an employee, a company and society in general.

More robust
Espen Løken from FAFO will also talk about boundaries based on personal interests and needs, as well as collective group interests, and the framework for business activity - both in Norway and abroad.
"Ragnar Rosness from SINTEF will wind up by talking about how to achieve more robust risk management in organizations undergoing change," Bjerkebæk concludes.

Considerable interest
So far, more than 240 people have signed up for the Safety Forum's annual conference 2005, including a number of key HSE managers, experts and head safety delegates/coordinating safety delegates from the industry.
This year's conference will focus on perspectives for HSE in the future, and it will start on Thursday, 13 October in Atlantic Hall, Stavanger.

Contact in the Safety Forum:
Angela Ebbesen