On April 20 th , 2010 an explosion happened onboard of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the United States Gulf of Mexico, 41 miles offshore Louisiana. Out of a crew of 126 workers 11 were reported missing and 17 injured. Following this explosion, underwater robots detected that the deep water oil well was leaking several thousand barrels of oil per day into the ocean. To this date (May 20 th , 2010) the leak has not been controlled and the consequences of this catastrophic event on wildlife, long term impact on the local ecosystem, and the effects on the local and even the national economy and politics are growing every day. I am sure that discussion and investigation will continue for many years on how many barrels of oil have leaked or how to measure the leak, how to control such an accident or prevent it. However an early look at what has already been reported indicates a few human factors that are related to the investigation. Here are just a few of the issues reported:
·Blowout preventer apparently had a significant leak in a key hydraulic system. It seems that the blowout preventer was damaged from an accident that happened a few weeks before the massive disaster.
·Emergency controls on the blowout preventer may have failed.
·A dead man's switch (a switch that is automatically operated in case the human operator becomes incapacitated) failed to activate.
·It is also reported that on the day of the accident, the Transocean manager and BP employee argued about how to finish the well. The BP employee wanted to save time and money by taking some shortcuts.
· The crew member also admitted that the blowout preventer was damaged from an accident that happened a few weeks before the massive disaster. BP and Deep Horizon knew that the BOP and the Pod were damaged, but the operation was behind schedule and losing money.
"The Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics International NEWS - June 2010- Number 20"
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Deepwater Horizon oil spill