BP is one of the world's largest energy companies, with an
annual turnover well over $250 billion. They have active operations
in 29 countries, employ close to 100,000 people, and produce 3.9
million barrels of oil-equivalent per day. Health and Safety is
accepted as being one of their guiding principles.
BP had recently modified its footwear specification for UK
onshore & offshore exploration & production sites
providing close-fitting lace-up boots which gave good ankle
support. However, although the new boots did help to reduce ankle
injuries, staff wearing them reported some concerns about slips.
HSL were therefore contracted to independently investigate the
slipperiness of the replacement footwear types and possible
What We Did
An existing test method, originally intended for the assessment
of flooring slipperiness, was adapted by HSL to allow 'bespoke'
testing to be undertaken. The test was designed in order to closely
simulate the conditions under which the footwear would be used in
practice. Open-grid industrial flooring and scaffold boards were
therefore substituted for the 'standard' flooring surface in order
to recreate the real working conditions, and a typical water-based
contaminant, as commonly found in the offshore environment, was
applied during testing.
Numerous types of proposed footwear were tested, and data was
produced regarding their slipperiness in real world conditions.
Subjective assessment of the comfort levels experienced by
operators during testing was also fed back to BP.
Results of the work clearly illustrated significant performance
differences between the footwear types assessed. More importantly,
the information generated was specifically relevant to the
conditions in which the footwear was actually to be used. This is a
unique characteristic of the test method developed; it can be
adapted to almost any real workplace situation.
This led BP to remove specific footwear from their 'standard
issue' list. An alternative selection of footwear was identified
which were both slip resistant, comfortable, and provided the level
of ankle support required, and as a consequence, the risk of
workplace accidents was reduced.
Downloadable pdf of case study
"BP are appreciative of the quality of HSL's advice and the level of professionalism demonstrated during this project."
Steve Taylor, Health, Safety and Environmental Manager, UK Deepwater Performance Unit
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