Listening to music through earbuds is not something you will see on the drillfloor of a Noble rig, but you may well hear thumping bass and rock show vocals pounding out a safety message during a pre-tour meeting aboard the Noble Clyde Boudreaux.
Those memorable tones are part of two music videos produced by crew members to help drive home the importance of safety. Far from the dry and predictable safety videos of days past, these videos takes a fresh approach to communicating an important message. As important is the fact that there’s solid science supporting the effort.
Lights, camera, hardhat
The videos, which feature nearly a dozen members of the rig crew, were cast, filmed and recorded using the talent and situations encountered every day. By filming on the rig, the safety staff and rig management concluded that the message is more immediate and relatable to the crew, as opposed to the standard or generic videos sold commercially. The crew members also enjoy the opportunity to see themselves on screen, and to play a part in communicating the importance the rig places on safety.
As with all rig activities, Noble believes in working closely with our customers. Safety is no exception — and cooperation in this area is particularly keen between Noble and Shell — which has successfully utilized the Boudreaux in the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and currently in Australia. For their part, Shell supported the use of the videos and sees them as supporting safety and crew cohesion aboard the rig.
“I really support the videos we have been making,” says Fokko Schröder, Shell’s Senior Drilling Supervisor aboard the Noble Clyde Boudreaux, “For me, the videos are a real morale booster, and more importantly, you can put in the video all sorts of examples of how to work safe and avoid unsafe working practices.”
How it works
Think about a song you first heard years ago and the odds are that with little effort the particulars of that song can often be recalled simply by “playing” the song mentally.
Psychologists have long been fascinated by this connection between music and memory. Hearing an old song can take you back decades in the blink of an eye. That’s helpful if you are learning the alphabet or a foreign language, to be sure, but what about music’s ability to impact safety culture? It turns out that music’s benefits to memory and its ability to influence behavior aren’t limited to the classroom.
In fact, today music as a teaching tool has gone mainstream — with applications ranging from public service announcements targeting teens and distracted driving — to treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
One of the reasons the link between music and memory is so powerful is that it activates such large areas of the brain. A recent brain imaging study found that music activated the auditory, motor and emotional regions of the brain, and did so more completely than other activities such as reading or engaging in a conversation.
The motor areas process the rhythm, the auditory areas process the sound, while the limbic regions are associated with the emotions. The study found that whether their participants were listening to the Beatles or Vivaldi, largely the same areas of the brain were active. Adding imagery to the music, such as with a related video, further enhances the effect.
“In memory terms,” says Dr. Victoria Williamson, Vice Chancellor’s Fellow for the Arts and Humanities (Music) at the University of Sheffield. “We often find that music can be a bit of a mixed bag — sometimes it helps with learning but sometimes it can get in the way. The key is to tow that line between stimulation and distraction…In your case, you have hit the right end of the spectrum.”
“We call this kind of effect ‘elaborative encoding’, basically you make a memory easy to make and draw on later if the initial presentation of the to-be-remembered information is more elaborate, multi-sensory, and active in mind.”