This news article appeared in Oil & Gas Innovation in Summer, 2020 edition. The article can be read here: link
Safety and culture experts Propel Sayfr, in partnership with Attensi, have created a safety training solution for the digital age. SAYFR immerses its users in an interactive 3D simulation of their working environment, designed to educate best practice and to test their
abilities across a range of realistic scenarios.
Its first client, shipping operator K Line, used SAYFR to instill a culture of safety excellence amongst its staff. The company wanted to foster a culture of openness around on-board errors and failures, in order to learn from them. Having rolled-out SAYFR as a training tool for its seafarers, K Line met its ‘reported near misses’ key metric target for the whole year within the first quarter after launch.
When a single incident could result in loss of life and millions in financial penalties, good safety culture is non- negotiable for any maritime operator. An incredible 75% of maritime losses are attributable to human error. And while it’s hard to find a shipping or offshore company today that does not claim to be an ‘industry leader’ in the field, the practical reality of instilling safety culture comes with significant challenges.
For safety and culture experts Propel Sayfr, these challenges are only too familiar. Established in 2010, the company has built a unique data set based on the behaviors of over 150,000 individuals working in shipping and offshore. Its purpose is to answer a difficult question – why are some operators better at managing safety than others?
“While some companies make a point of dealing with and learning from incidents upfront, others still suffer from a mindset of hiding them away,” explains Didrik Svendsen, Partner at Propel Sayfr. “To address this, we built our statistical data model to prove the connection between individuals’ behaviour and safety success. If these behaviours can be measured, then we can change them effectively.”
It is this commitment to analysing individual operating decisions, and their impact on frequency of incidents, that underpins what PropelSayfrofferstoitsclients.Theoperations of the client company are closely monitored and measured, with findings presented back as data-driven recommendations for altering behavioural norms. And with these changes, a true ‘safety excellence’ culture can be created.
After five years of operating, Propel Sayfr’s results had won multiple clients and many admirers. But something else was needed to take full advantage of this new-found methodology. As Svendsen and his fellow partners realised, the nature of training itself had become a limiting factor. “We had the methods, what we lacked was the ability to scale our approach. If you really want to reach people through training, they have to be able to visualise the tasks and incidents being discussed. Which is why we started to search for technology partners that worked with 3D avatars.”
Attensi, a provider of gamified simulation training, had the solution that Propel Sayfr needed. The company combines best practice from the worlds of workplace psychology, training, and gaming to create immersive training simulations that empower users to learn new skills, with measurable impact on organisational KPIs. Together, the two companies collaborated to create a new flagship training solution, SAYFR.
SAYFR users are immersed in a 3D graphical recreation of their workplace environment and challenged to complete a range of scripted scenarios. Each is designed to simulate the kind of processes and mishaps that can lead to onboard incidents, from the mildly negligent to outright disastrous, with multiple possible outcomes. Each scenario features interactive conversations with voice-acted characters, representing the typical exchanges that users will have with real-life co-workers. Correct answers are ‘rewarded’ with points and star ratings upon completion. Incorrect answers will cost users points and negatively impact their final rating, but they are also addressed with real- time feedback to explain mistakes and wrong decisions.
Leaderboards – amongst teams, departments, and whole organizations – promote a level of friendly competition. As well as encouraging players to repeat the training multiple times for bragging rights over their colleagues, the metrics gathered give management a comprehensive picture of how their people are performing against eight core safety leadership behaviors.
For “K” Line LNG Shipping, SAYFR proved to be a shrewd choice in its pursuit of safety excellence, according to Improvement Manager, Soeun Choi. “Through SAYFR, we were able to visualise how the behaviors and safety culture really impact the likelihood of having an accident.”
K Line began working with Propel Sayfr in 2015 and adopted SAYFR in 2017 as the first company to use the solution. As with all shipping safety initiatives, the ultimate target was to eliminate major accidents. However, as a measurement, the binary nature of whether an accident did or did not happen does not provide much in the way of tangible insight. For K Line, improved reporting of near miss incidents was considered a more actionable metric to improve upon.
“Many companies say failures and errors are something to learn from, and that they should be reported whenever possible. But for many of our seafarers, it was not always clear why they should report. The main purpose of our project with SAYFR was to improve the level of maturity of the safety culture. To move from one of ‘cover-up’ to excellence culture, where our people learn from errors.”
After introducing SAYFR, the number of reported near misses increased dramatically. The company had set a new annual target for this key metric. But following the launch of K Line’s new gamified simulation training, the target was exceeded within a single quarter. These numbers are now the new normal, providing management with a vital line of sight into how errors occur, and how accidents can be avoided.
“With SAYFR, our people get to see the results and outcomes of mistakes rather than just as art of a discussion piece. The multiple choices allow them to visualise multiple outcomes, where before they might not necessarily have appreciated what those outcomes were,” explains K Line Deputy General Manager, Lloyd Swindell. “The range of where the reports have come from has also massively increased. It used to be the senior officers’ job to make reports. Now they’re coming from a lot more members of the crew.”
SAYFR’s successful launch with K Line has led to the development of two further training solutions, which are set to be rolled-out across the company later this year. Both fall under the SAYFR umbrella and are again powered by technology from Attensi.
The combination of Propel Sayfr’s data modelling and Attensi’s gamified simulations has also been used to create training solutions for other verticals. One of which has been recently sold to an operator in the oil industry. For Didrik Svendsen of Propel Sayfr, it is a collaboration that has come to define how his team operate. “Before our relationship with Attensi we were hosting in- person executive workshops – big conferences with operations leaders, sometimes 100 people or more. We had trainers on board [ships and offshore platforms] for seven to ten days at a time. It gave results, but wasn’t scalable. Now, Attensi has become the core of how we deliver what we do.”