After almost two decades in the oil and gas business, it’s fair to say Rig Manager Shaun VanKoughnett has learned a lot about running drilling rigs. When it comes to safety, here’s one of the most important things he knows:
“Take your time and do things right, don’t skip steps and don’t take shortcuts,” said VanKoughnett, a born-and-raised Albertan who was this year’s CAODC Safety Excellence Award winner for Trinidad Drilling’s Canadian division.
As the toolpush on Rig 24, VanKoughnett led his team to an impressive 1,100 days without a recordable incident before taking over the top job on Rig 76 last summer. He’s showed the same safety leadership on Rig 76, which operates primarily in Alberta (as does Rig 24).
VanKoughnett recognized at CAODC Safety Awards
In April, the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) held a Safety Awards banquet, as they do every spring after the winter-drilling season. One of the awards given out is a special Safety Excellence Award. Individuals who have been nominated by their companies receive this honour. This year, Trinidad picked VanKoughnett.
The key to keeping crews safe
VanKoughnett, who said he was proud to win the CAODC award, has a simple formula for keeping his crews safe. He follows safety procedures (such as safety meetings) and does things the way he was trained to do them. And then he spends a lot of time with his team to make sure they’re doing the same.
“I’m out there a lot with the guys to make sure they do things using the right procedures, and (that they) make safety a part of every operation,” explained VanKoughnett, who has been with Trinidad for 17 years.
VanKoughnett’s commitment to safety stems from another simple (but important) principle: he doesn’t want to see anyone get hurt.
“I am pretty good friends with a lot of my guys that I work with. We’re a close family out there,” said VanKoughnett, who is a father with a family at home to stay safe for as well.
When it comes to juggling the demands of a busy drilling operation, VanKoughnett has his priorities right.
“You can’t compromise safety just to go faster, so you do what you can to get the job done in a timely manner, but of course safety comes first,” he said.
Trinidad Drilling and safety
Trinidad is committed to keeping every one of our workers safe every day. We use a company wide training program called Trinidad Essential Skills Training to ensure our team has the knowledge and skills they need to do the job safely. We also work to ensure the equipment our crews work on is in top condition, and we utilize advanced technologies on our fleet that help keep rig hands safe.
Find out more about the safety culture at Trinidad.