Specialized software applications that focus on improving workplace safety performance often include monitoring and data-logging systems that incorporate information from one or more types of contact or non-contact (remote), and passive or active sensors and surveillance devices such as gas detectors, noise-level sensors, temperature gauges, cameras, microwave scanners, RFID scanners, etc. Workforce shift-rotation scheduling/planning software, weather monitoring software, remotely operated rig-structure inspection systems (on offshore rigs), and even well MWD (measurement while drilling) monitoring software can all be also considered as safety-enhancing applications. Data from these systems can be stored for periodic access and review or presented on a video screen for real-time monitoring by safety officers, drilling engineers, and rig managers.
Fatigue risk management systems (FRMS) comprise a type of or are included in workforce scheduling/planning software. These systems aim to reduce fatigue among workers who are exposed to long work hours (12 hours or more per shift) and/or physically and mentally demanding work environments such as those that exist on drilling rigs. These systems accurately record the number of work hours logged by personnel and provide optimized work-scheduling options for managers that distribute work hours equitably among all available personnel.
RFID systems for monitoring personnel instead of equipment are also useful from a safety-enhancement perspective. RFID tags can help locate personnel in certain emergency situations (such as hydrogen sulfide leaks) wherein personnel could have been incapacitated in areas that are not within the field of vision of surveillance cameras. Emergency evacuations to designated safe zones (such as the rig manager's trailer located at a safe distance from the rig) can also be facilitated with the use of personnel RFID tags.
Remote physiological monitoring systems (RPMS) that take advantage of recent advancements in wireless and miniaturization technologies can also be classified as safety applications. RPMS are a part of or can be included in FRMS applications. RPMS are concerned mainly with monitoring several physiological conditions (heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, etc.) and ensuring that they remain within acceptable limits while performing work-related tasks.
Personnel safety monitoring systems seem to be gravitating towards wireless, real-time monitoring that allows active management of personnel by safety managers. On-duty safety managers can recognize and instantly call attention to potentially unsafe situations or actions instead of merely having to respond to an event or accident that has already occurred. The current emphasis on real-time monitoring is in line with the upstream oil-and-gas industry initiative of enhancing its integrated operations capabilities. Integrated operations systems provide senior managers with higher levels of situational awareness and operational intelligence in real time, thereby allowing them to make better informed choices with regard to the conduct of the drilling and other operational processes.
Most software-based safety systems are currently owned, maintained, and operated by parent companies or by hired service contractors that report and send the data to the client companies. Future legislation might make it possible for independent safety systems contractors to report directly to regulatory agencies.