Students/education

PetroBowl Adds Human Factors Questions

The addition of human-factors questions to the pool of questions will provide future engineers across the energy sector with an opportunity to gain more knowledge on human factors, human-factors-related regulation, industry guidance, and organizations promoting human factors.

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By Marcin Nazaruk, SPE Human Factors Technical Section Chair


Improving awareness of human factors among future engineers in the energy sector is integral to the SPE Human Factors Technical Section (HFTS) vision.

To achieve this, the HFTS has developed a set of questions (consisting of visual questions, toss-up questions, and verbal questions requiring multiple answers) that will be added to the finals of the annual SPE PetroBowl competition.

The SPE PetroBowl is an annual competition held in coordination with SPE's Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) that pitches SPE student chapter teams against one another in a series of quick-fire rounds, answering technical and nontechnical industry-related questions. While this year's ATCE will be held 2123 September in Dubai, the PetroBowl will be held virtually to allow as many teams as possible to compete.

Because of the global nature of the competition, the addition of human-factors questions to the pool of questions will provide future engineers across the energy sector with an opportunity to gain more knowledge on human factors, human-factors-related regulation, industry guidance, and organizations promoting human factors.

The questions were sourced from freely available industry guidance such as the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers, Energy Institute, and the UK Health and Safety Executive. The questions cover a range of human-factors topics such as human factors engineering, fatigue, safety culture, the usability of procedures, human-factors integration, safety-critical task analysis, and safety leadership.

Because of the importance of human factors in improving organizational safety and contributing positively to the competency of engineers in a rapidly advancing world, the SPE HFTS has been engaged in discussions and ongoing efforts “to explore if engineers are getting a strong foundation in human performance/human factors.”

A drilling health, safety, and environment specialist and supervisor, who has now completed Level 1 of the Human Performance Competency Pathway, said, “The knowledge of human factors has enabled me to adopt a more holistic approach in the implementation of safety management systems, thereby enabling improved personnel interactions with systems and equipment. I am sure a strong foundation on human factors will enable aspiring engineers in the energy sector to design robust, safe, and system-based solutions.”

The SPE HFTS envisions a future where engineers are not just aware of human factors but also deeply integrate human-factors requirements and concepts into all phases of design for products, facilities, and services.


Marcin Nazaruk, SPE, is a human-performance and culture leader at Baker Hughes. As a psychologist, scientist, and safety practitioner, he translates safety science into practical solutions to transform health, safety, and the environment. Nazaruk was elected chair of the SPE Human Factors Technical Section in August 2020. He received the IOGP Outstanding Young Professional Award in 2018 and the COS Safety Leadership Award in 2020. Nazaruk can be reached at https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcinnazaruk/.