Oil and gas is an industry of numbers. Preferably, numbers that go up and to the right. But, not all numbers are created the same, especially when you’re talking oil and gas safety statistics.
As in life, there are some numbers in the oilfield you want to drive up, and others you want to drive down. Just like the numbers in your bank account, you want production numbers to go up. Conversely, much like our waistlines and cholesterol, we want to drive those numbers down.
Yet, this is where the analogy breaks down. If your weight or cholesterol dropped to zero, you would die. In oil and gas safety statistics, zero is always the goal. Oilfield Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE) professionals strive to eliminate all injuries, occupational illnesses, unsafe practices, and incidents of environmental harm.
If you are one of these professionals, this is not news to you. Everyone says they want to build a “Zero Incident Culture”.
But, achieving zero incidents requires more than lip service. It takes strong leadership, relentless accountability, and rigorous execution.
Let’s look at how mastering these three critical areas can help you ACE your oil and gas safety statistics.
Without Vision, The People Parish
Fostering a zero incident culture starts and ends with leadership.
To begin, gather your HSE team together to discuss your core values. Take the time to discover what makes your organization tick. Once you know your core principles and what they mean to you, write them down and categorize them.
Remember, your employees need to not only retain these principles, they need to live them every minute of the day. Keep it brief. A half-dozen categories will do just fine.
Oil and gas companies know better than anyone if they make mistakes, lives are at stake. This is good news because there is no shortage of great companies to learn from.
ACE Completions uses the SPIRIT Values of ConocoPhillips — Safety, People, Integrity, Responsibility, Innovation, and Teamwork — to inspire employee actions and place safety at the core of how we operate.
Once you discover your core principles and distill them into simple and easy language that inspires everyone on your team, you are well on the way toward zero injuries, illnesses and incidents.
Execution is Everything
Employee participation is a critical component to successful safety efforts. Now that leadership is onboard, it’s time to get 100% buy-in from every employee.
Start with safety committees. Find team members in each business units who are passionate about safety. It doesn’t matter what the initiative when employees are surrounded by enthusiastic peers they are much more likely to adopt the desired behaviors.
Once your employee leadership team is in place, have them identify opportunities to eliminate work hazards and risks. Establish behavior-based safety observation programs that provide appropriate training.
No program is perfect out of the gate. Acting like you nailed it without hearing from front-line employees will only drive down engagement, and increase the likelihood of incidents. Build internal HSE industry forums to give employees an opportunity to provide feedback and constructive criticism.
Your employees are your greatest asset. Get as many of them involved in the conversation as possible to drive mass-adoption across your organization.
Accountability is Key
Companies with strong cultures don’t happen by accident. Everyone in the organization lives and breathes the mission. This is where accountability comes in.
Launching a zero incident initiative is just the beginning.
Having a conference call and putting up signs is a great start, but it’s only a start. It’s what happens the day after the call, the week after you hang the signs, and every minute of each day moving forward.
Have each business unit regularly assess your HSE management systems. Consistently analyze the current safety status of your employees. Continually identify areas for potential improvement. Constantly discover key activities and behaviors that work to reduce risk and further enhance HSE performance.
If a potential hazard is identified through a near miss or other hazard analysis, reporting the problem is not enough. Implement individual corrective actions to address root causes. Communicate incident learnings broadly across your operations to eliminate repeat incidents.
Oil and Gas Safety Statistics Ain’t Statistics Class
Oilfield safety is a weighty topic. No one wants to send employees into the field without knowing they are 100% safe, 100% of the time. But don’t let the gravity of the topic overwhelm your initiatives.
In the end, just keep it simple: Be Safe. Use Your Manners. Have Fun.
How do you build a strong safety culture within your company? We would love to hear any ideas you have below.