Can Digitalization Save Your Workforce?

Out of seventeen heavy-asset industries, the O&G industry ranks the lowest on the digital maturity scale, scoring only 1.3 out of 10.

Interestingly, most of the cost-cutting and efficiency measures taken in response to the previously-mentioned 2014 market downturn became permanent — these were changes that largely revolved around digitalization.

Despite the massive potential and burgeoning interest, the industry’s digital advancement remains in its infancy.

The O&G appetite does exist for increased digitalization. Research shows that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data specialists are the most in-demand workers in the North American O&G industry, and the second most globally.

This confirms an industry in transition, one in training pants readying himself for big boy undies. Perhaps it’s time for a cultural shift that metabolizes fear of digital transition into opportunity.

Taking cues from the industry’s 2014 response, the COVID-19 recovery era — which we’re in the early stages of — is the prime opportunity to pivot O&G into the next phase of digital maturity.

Industrial Health and Safety in Oil and Gas

US OG&C employment is not only unstable but also unsafe. It’s not a pretty thing to talk about, but the reality is that despite best efforts to prioritize health and safety, the industry experiences seven times more deaths than in other sectors.

The US Center for Disease Control, CDC, identified the leading fatality hazards as transportation and contact injuries.

Employees working long and irregular hours make for distracted and fatigued drivers. This contributes to the forty percent of industry deaths that are transportation-related.

Contact-injury-related deaths, as one would guess, largely stem from the dynamic and changeable environment of O&G sites: heavy-plant equipment, moving parts, high-pressure systems, cables and cranes overhead…the list of physical hazards goes on.

How Can Digitalization Save Your Workforce?

Increased digitalization would literally be a lifesaver in the O&G sector.

Industrial SaaS companies offer digitalization through a myriad of software tools that, for example, would allow employees to view and understand recent or real-time facility conditions before embarking on physical tasks.

Things like remote visualization, virtual inspections and predictive maintenance, for example, offer workplace flexibility and risk avoidance.

Steps towards digital maturity using these sorts of virtual tools remove the guesswork around potential contact hazards that weren’t there previously. Furthermore, fatigue would be minimized through remote and, hence, flexible working options.

In 2020, flex working was available to fewer than one percent of OG&C employees. Surely this has increased somewhat in the face of the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, but not enough.

Job flexibility as the de facto standard would both retain and attract younger talent. And industrial data visualization software would keep those employees safe.

Digitalization both reflects and fosters a people-first, safety-first culture. One that also allows for the easy exchange of information between departments, combating silo-building and improving camaraderie and work culture.

Aside from growing pains associated with any sort of institutional change, digital transformation seems a wholly beneficial solution.

If you want to know more about how to overcome transformation barriers towards digital maturity, check out our blog.

This article first appeared on MODS Energy Industry Blog https://blog.mods.solutions/digitalization-can-it-save-your-workforce

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