Proceedings of the

The 33rd European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL 2023)
3 – 8 September 2023, Southampton, UK

Safety Artifacts in Oil and Gas Industry: An Analysis of Permit-To-Work Process

João Henrique de Freitas1,a, Matheus Henrique Pulz1,b, Francisco de Assis da Silva Junior2,d, Éder Henriqson1,c and Moacyr Machado Cardoso Júnior2,e

1Business School, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

2Aerospace Science and Technology, Aeronautical Institute of Technology, Brazil.


Safety critical activities performed in oil and gas industries need to be constantly assessed by the Permit-To-Work (PTW) process. The PTW is a formal process to communicate safety critical tasks and control certain types of works identified as potentially hazardous. Despite its relevance beyond risk analysis, the imagined purpose of this safety artifact is sometimes different from the function of this artifact in practice, being seen as an enabling device, without its real purpose. The objective of this study is to analyse the PTW process in the oil and gas industry. The context was PTW authorized for a cargo handling between the oil rig and a supply vessel and was collected through observations, interviews, and documents analysis. The Functional Resonance Analysis Method (FRAM) was adopted to modelling the Work-As-Done (WAD) and the Work-As-Imagined (WAI). The analysis allowed identify four factors that could be linked with the differences of the artifact in the practice: lack of system integration on the rig; centralized information on the shift leader; compliance with the task registration; and lack of feedback concerning the operation. This study illustrates how this systematic approach helps to understand daily safety-critical operations, improving solutions to cope with the daily variability, instead of the linear approaches commonly adopted in the industry, focusing on eliminating them.

Keywords: Permit-To-Work (PTW), FRAM, Artifacts, Safety critical, Complex system, Oil and gas.

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