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Oilfield checklists – aviation style

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Check-6 has announced the launch of the company’s Checklist Ops with RIGOR, an intuitive checklist-based mobile app that puts procedural discipline and verifiable compliance in the palm of the user’s hand.

Aviation-style checklist development structure

The company’s Checklist Ops with RIGOR seamlessly integrates into an organisation’s existing crew resource management strategy, giving end users a higher level of reliability and human error mitigation. Based on an aviation-style checklist development structure, Checklist Ops with RIGOR ensures every critical checklist step has an action, so that supervisors and workers find a reliable and consistent workflow during high-risk operations.

Checklist Ops

Checklist Ops is the company’s scalable consulting service that helps operators and drilling contractors identify and develop checklists for critical tasks most susceptible to lost time incidents (LTIs), total reportable incident rates (TRIR), downtime, flat time, and non-productive time (NPT).

Over the past 80 years, checklists have served as powerful tools for pilots to handle even the most stressful situations with reliable, consistently successful, results. Check-6 coaches, who are former military and commercial aviation pilots, have decades of experience in building checklist cultures and high performance teams.

  • A checklist culture helps crews do it right the first time, every time.
  • A checklist culture ensures safe, repeatable and verifiable behaviour.
  • A checklist culture improves productivity.

Built using a top-down and bottom-up approach, instilling a ‘Checklist Culture’ is a deliberate and methodical process. Management must understand and support the effort; operators must play an integral role in the production of the checklist and empowered with a continuous improvement process in order to gain ownership.


Complementing Checklist Ops is RIGOR, a digital checklist and compliance system that gives crews the tools to respond with methodical actions and reactions in both normal and emergency situations. With RIGOR, critical steps are simplified, actions are deliberate, and all checklist execution data is captured and tracked for reporting purposes.

For crewmembers, the pressure to memorise each step of a procedure is minimised, while management’s confidence in their crews is maximised. Checklists are executed in a predetermined sequence with a deliberate swipe from a stylus pen or finger.

RIGOR is an interactive, mobile application that helps organisations:

  • Simplify complex procedures where tasks require an action and response.
  • Mitigate the distractions that cause critical mistakes.
  • Prepare for the task with easily searchable and linkable references.
  • Communicate clearly so everyone is on the same page.
  • Focus on the task at hand by managing the amount of information necessary for good decision-making.
  • Preserve valuable information while eliminating unnecessary paperwork.
  • Minimise human error.
  • Verify compliance and track success metrics demonstrating that checklists are completed accurately and in a timely manner.
  • Improve safety and performance KPIs by tracking performance metrics.
  • Stay in control with instant updates that can be disseminated across the enterprise.

Why digital? Studies have shown that paper checklists have a one in 150 error rate, whereas digital checklists have a one in 3000 error rate.


RIGOR software is currently operated on either a full-size Apple iPad tablet or Apple iPad Mini tablet, and offered with a Class I Division II intrinsically safe cover to meet equipment safety requirements at the rig site. 

The Checklist Culture Structure

Check-6 uses a two-phased approach to develop and implement checklists within an organisation: development and training.

Phase I: Development

Development begins with an introduction for upper leadership to establish a common understanding of checklist theory, design, usage and discipline. Checklist development coaches then work with a client’s Subject Matter Experts to facilitate checklist writing and populating of the RIGOR digital checklist system.

Initial focus is placed on issues clients deem most important and then systematically broadened to build checklists for all other critical phases of operations. Checklists are sorted into normal operations, abnormal operations and emergency operations. Warnings, Cautions and Notes are considered best practices in commercial aviation and provide ‘just-in-time’ hazard identification and awareness.

Equipment limitations are also included for ready reference and pre-job planning and preparation. The development phase ends with Check-6 coaches deployed to the work site to validate checklists for content, accuracy and final operational approval.

Phase II: Training

Check-6 coaches introduce Checklist Ops with RIGOR to designated stakeholders to explain checklist theory, design, usage, discipline and continuous improvement processes.

Check-6 coaches then travel to the client’s work site in order to teach the philosophies of and reinforce checklist discipline and further verify design. The company’s coaches actively instruct each team member on proper checklist utilisation, procedures and discipline, as well as teach a continuous improvement process whereby crews take ownership in the quality of the checklists they use.

Perpetual reinforcement

Transitioning to a culture of procedural discipline designed around checklists is not going to happen overnight. Perpetual leadership and sustainment coaching is essential to overcome the effects of turnover, complacency and a ‘flavour of the month’ mentality. Without proper oversight, leadership and perpetual reinforcement, the disciplined use of checklists will degrade over time. For this reason, Check-6 recommends follow-on sustainment coaching to safeguard the value of the initial investment. The frequency of sustainment can be tailored to meet client needs.

Adapted from press release by Cecilia Rehn

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