Oil & Gas Innovation Showcase 2014 – Houston

Thursday, April 10, 2014 by James Gorry

On the 22nd of this month I’ll be travelling to Houston, Texas to take part in the 2014 Oil & Gas Innovation Showcase.

The event is being presented by the Oil & Gas Innovation Centre, which seeks to address specific technological needs of the oil and gas industry. Specific categories include:

  • Coatings & Minerals
  • Communications & Power
  • Filtration & Fluids
  • Heath, Safety & Environment
  • Inspection & Monitoring
  • Motion Control
  • Security
  • Sensors
  • Software

The innovation centre provides a comprehensive online database where subscribers receive information about any new products and technologies. This means individual organisations do not have to seek out new technologies independently: members receive detailed information collated and researched by the centre.

The Innovation Showcase is an important event where technologies relevant to the oil and gas industry are presented.

Optalert has been invited to present at the event and showcase its early-warning drowsiness detection technology; an opportunity for which we are incredibly grateful, and I’ll be presenting on behalf of the Optalert team.

Last year, the centre showcased our products to their members and highlighted our technology which has been scientifically-validated as the world’s only early warning drowsiness detection technology.

Truck and highway crashes in the oil and gas industry

In the US, between 2002 and 2012, 300 oil and gas workers were killed in highway and truck crashes. These accidents are the biggest cause of fatalities in the oil and gas industry.

Shift work

Regular shift work means irregular sleeping patterns which can build to significant sleep deprivation. The consequences or poor sleep and drowsiness include micro sleeps and attention lapses. On the road, these consequences lead to fatal accidents.

Questioning industry exemptions

Exemptions in the oil and gas industry are frequently being questioned. These exemptions mean drivers and workers can work longer hours and not be constrained or delayed by mandatory rest periods between and during shifts. According to the NY Times article, these exemptions were applied during the 1960s when the industry complained that drivers’ schedules were too restricted when having to factor in compulsory rest periods.

The interest in our product, however, indicates the industry is keen to re-evaluate the impact of drowsiness on their employees and shows a real commitment to workplace health and safety.

The cost of drowsy driving

It is estimated drowsy driving-related accidents kill around 1500 people annually across the United States.

For companies, Harvard Medical School estimates the costs attributed to lack of sleep errors, such as loss of productivity and absenteeism in the US reaches $31 billion every year.

Humans are not good evaluators of their state of alertness: you can have a micro sleep without even knowing, putting yourself and others at risk. Drowsy driver behaviour is too often being excused and overlooked.

Optalert’s focus is on zero harm: safety comes first, and is never compromised by deadlines or goals and we look forward to sharing our technology with the oil and gas industry later this month.

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