Critical Team Performance - Passionate about Excellence

WOCRM Programme - Well Operations Crew Resource Management

The importance of non-technical skills to safety and efficiency has long been recognised in high-risk industries such as aviation, mining, rail and healthcare. The oil and gas exploration and production industry is now starting to pay the same attention to providing training in cognitive, human factor skills such as situation awareness and decision-making. Until recent events, such as the blow-outs experienced on the Macondo and Montara wells, the oil and gas industry had not fully recognised the importance of how psychological factors relating to perception and motivation can contribute to safe and efficient operations. It is now believed that a step-change improvement in operational safety and efficiency of well operations teams (i.e., the full spectrum of Construction, Production, Maintenance, Drilling, Completions, Work-overs & Interventions), can be achieved through effective development and application of non-technical skills, also known as Crew Resource Management (CRM).


Looking forward, specifically in the area of well operations, the oil and gas exploration and production industry recognises the importance of non-technical skills to operational safety, and embedding discipline-relevant skills and attitudes in training and operational practices. Training alone will not bring a step change in our industry; however, a period of stand-alone CRM training is imperative to build an appreciation for the importance of human factors and to establish a foundation of knowledge and ability.

The CRM course syllabus focuses on improving the skills of the individual worker in a team setting and addressing behaviour in routine operations, with the aim of avoiding critical incidents. However, the skills taught in this programme can also be applied when dealing with time pressured critical events. The programme syllabus is based on current scientific research into human performance. The programme content developed from the recommended syllabus should be adapted to the operational conditions and task demands, as well as to the needs and existing knowledge of the trainees.

Beyond the period of stand-alone training, CRM concepts should be incorporated into technical training courses. Such integration will help develop and sustain the awareness, knowledge and (instinctive) application of non-technical skills. Operationally, CRM concepts must be known, and their importance recognised, by leadership teams at all levels as well as incorporated into safety debriefs, operational procedures and operational audits. Follow up, work place based coaching by experience CRM coaches is essential for successful implementation of the WOCRM Programme.

WOCRM Learning Objectives:

  1. To enhance the safety and management of well operations through improved awareness and application of human factors behaviours.
  2. To enhance and develop WOCRM skills and attitudes among Well Operations Crew and allow them to practice the skills in a safe environment.

Achieving these objectives will:

  • Sensitise Well Operations Crew to the signs and indicators that reflect breakdown in good cognitive skills in themselves and in others.
  • Help members of the Well Operations Crew recognise when either their own behaviour, or their actions may be interfering with required standards of effective team working and interpersonal behaviours.
  • Help Well Operations Crew develop and practice the cognitive and behavioural skills to be able to continue to think, communicate and act as an effective team member, particularly under rapidly changing situations associated with high levels of pressure and stress.

These skills are transferrable from team to team when individuals move around

Situation Awareness (SA)


Developing and maintaining a dynamic awareness of the situation and the risks present during a wells operation, based on gathering information from multiple sources from the task environment, understanding what the information means and using it to think ahead about what may happen next.

Learning Objectives:

- Identify the causes and symptoms of SA problems (eg inattention, distraction)

- Identify the component skills of SA in a Well Operations environment:

  • Gathering information.
  • Forming a mental model and the importance of advocating your view to compare perceptions.
  • Anticipation of what is likely to happen next.

- Be able to recognise and combat SA problems.

Decision Making


Skills for diagnosing the situation and reaching a judgement in order to choose an appropriate course of action.

Learning Objectives:

- Understand how problems can be caused in Wells Operations with decision errors e.g. confirmation bias and task fixation.

- Understand the component skills of assessing the situation (problem, time, risk) then choosing an appropriate course of action and reviewing the outcome.

- Understand the different modes of on-task decision making e.g. slower analytical, comparing options vs procedure based vs faster, gut feel, intuitive, pattern matching method and their suitability for different situations.

- Understand the human memory system and how it influences decision- making.

- Identify workplace factors affecting decision-making.



Skills for working in a group, in any role, to ensure joint task completion, these include co-ordination, co-operation and conflict resolution.

Learning Objectives:

- Understand how failures in teamwork can lead to accidents.

- Describe the characteristics of high performing teams.

- Discuss who is ‘the team’ in a wells operation specific to you.

- Understand your own role within the team.

- Understand the internal and external factors that can influence group behaviour.

- Understand the skills required for effective team co-ordination, co-operation and conflict resolution. 



Skills for directing, managing and supporting a team in order to accomplish tasks for set targets.

Learning Objectives:

- Recognise the traits of good, effective leadership and the typical problems that can relate to inadequate leadership.

- Understand how to direct a team and what techniques and behaviours can work effectively.

- Understand the importance of setting and maintaining high standards.

- Understand the importance of supporting the team and individual team members, especially in remote work locations.

- Understand the importance of liaising with other onshore and offshore managers and specialists.

Fatigue and Stress


Fatigue does not have a clear scientific definition but is generally a feeling of tiredness and being unable to perform work effectively. Specifically, a fatigued person will be less alert, less able to process information, will have slower reaction times and less interest in working compared to a person who is not fatigued. (UK HSE – HF website)

Stress - The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work. (UK HSE – HF website)

Learning Objectives:

- Understand the concept and effects of circadian rhythms and sleep patterns and the impact these can have on your performance at work.

- Recognise the causes and effects of stress at work.

- Understand how to avoid, reduce and cope with the effects of fatigue and stress.

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