Trinidad’s CEO opens up about why safety really does matter

In the last of our three-part series featuring Trinidad’s CEO, Lyle Whitmarsh, we talk to the roughneck turned CEO about his top priority: the safety of everyone on his team.

Lyle Whitmarsh, CEO of Trinidad Drilling
Lyle Whitmarsh, CEO of Trinidad Drilling
A lot of companies say safety is a priority, but how important is it to you personally that every person who works for Trinidad is safe every day?

It’s honestly, for me, one of the most important things.

When I was in the field I was considered, I think, ahead of my time as far as being proactive in safety and actually supporting people who wanted to be safe . . . we, in this industry, haven’t always had that.

When I started and was young in my career, safety was there but it wasn’t as supported as it is today at the senior level, and so for me, it is my No. 1 priority to keep everybody safe within Trinidad.

A few years ago, one of your big safety initiatives was aimed at eliminating motor-vehicle incidents. Tell us about the “Breaking the Chain” video you did as part of that initiative and why that was such an important project for you.

That “Breaking the Chain” video is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do because what we did was reenact a couple of accidents within Trinidad that, sadly, resulted in motor-vehicle fatalities of our employees.

We actually did a reenactment right on the scene: we had the medics, we had the fire trucks, we had everybody there and then we interviewed the family, because my belief is that as bad as the accident is, the ones who really pay for our decisions to drive when we’re tired or drive when we’re drinking, isn’t us (when there is a fatality), it’s our family.

I’ve been in a room with 2,000 rig guys who are all hyped up ­– big, tough guys ­– and I put that video in, and they start crying. I can assure you, you can hear a pin drop.

Staying connected to what’s happening in the field is very important to you. How do you do that?

When I go out to the field and I want to push a drilling rig, that’s what I intend to do, and I stay fully certified for that reason.

That’s one thing we do, and I believe it’s so important; we don’t have two-tier systems at Trinidad. I have the same benefit package as somebody who starts tomorrow. These are all important things to me, so I can make sure (everyone at Trinidad) realizes how important they are. My family is no more important than a roughneck who’s just starting. They shouldn’t be any different.

Read more from our interview with Lyle Whitmarsh in these past posts: 
Read more about Trinidad’s commitment to safety:

Learn more about joining Trinidad’s team in our careers section.

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