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WOAD – Invaluable information on accidents

WOAD is a repository of information on accidents occurring in the offshore oil and gas industry. The initiative to start collecting this information began in the mid-1970s. Information on lessons learned serves as invaluable input to help industry understand and avoid accidents in the future. There are 2,288 fatalities currently recorded in WOAD among the recorded 6451 accidents. This is a sobering thought and the driver for continuing with this worthwhile collection, which is something that has become much more than “data”.

The distribution of source information in WOAD is varied. Typically information from the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico is abundantly available; however other parts of the world do not report accident information as readily. This allows us to draw the conclusion that the significant number of recorded fatalities is an underestimate. The distribution of data from the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the rest of the world are shown in Figure 1 to illustrate the extent of this effect.


Geographical distribution of accident source data

The latest update to WOAD adds over 300 new accident records bringing the dataset up to the Hercules 265 blowout on 23rd July 2013.  The WOAD data is systematically organised and provides thorough detail on the accident and the unit involved, providing industry with the information you need to take lessons learnt and improve safety for the future. With records of 6451 accidents occurring to 3795 operating units, WOAD continues to be a critical resource to those working in risk and hazard management, insurance and regulation in the offshore industry globally.

Offshore activity is increasing. More rigs are being built and in parallel we are seeing life extension of
older assets. New geographies are being explored and operations are moving into deeper and colder
water. New technologies are being implemented with different operating units. So…

Shall we expect more accidents?

Are new technologies and modern safety management systems improving risk management and are operations becoming safer, despite the harsher environments?

What conclusions can be drew from WOAD? How other databases can help us understand the risks?

Colin Hickey has recently contributed to a whitepaper which answers most of these questions. Check it out here.

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