10 steps for a safer rig: A Toolpush’s top tips

The crew of Trinidad Rig 133 celebrates five years without an incident.

When Trinidad Rig 133 reached five years without a recordable incident, one of our HSE leaders asked its Rig Manager how the milestone was achieved. The reply from Blake Walsworth was so impressive, the Trinidad safety team shared it throughout our organization.

Walsworth, whose rig operates primarily in northwest Louisiana and East Texas, had created an in-depth list of the ways his team takes care of each other.

Safety is the most important issue to us out here,” said Walsworth. “We’re essentially family; we spend more time on the rigs than we do with our families at home. I believe that is what makes safety so important to us. You wouldn’t want anything to happen to one of your family members.”

Walsworth’s list of safety leadership tools could be useful to anyone in the industry, so we thought we would share it here.

Rig 133’s 10-step approach to safety

1. Family atmosphere

We try to make everyone who works with us feel they are part of the Rig 133 family. The more we care about each other, the more we look out for one another.

2. Proactive safety approach

To remain proactive, we use procedures such as STOP (where crew members look for, stop and report unsafe activities), rig talk, inspections, JPP (job planning procedure) and T Cards (mini JPPs that are filled out before small routine tasks). We also report and discuss near misses to learn from our mistakes.

3. Good safety meetings

We hold good safety meetings each tour where rig team members can get involved and ask questions.

4. Positive reinforcement

We encourage members of our team and let them know they are appreciated when they do a good job, make good STOPs, etc.

5. Hold people accountable for their actions

(This one needs no further explanation.)

6. Training

We spend time with our crews to see what they know or don’t know and to teach them the correct way to do a job. We also encourage them to ask questions about things they would like to know more about whether it pertains to safety, downhole, equipment, etc.

7. Do tasks safely and correctly

We teach our team to take the extra time to do tasks safely and correctly and to straighten up when a job is complete.

8. Identify risks and discuss how to do the job safely

During long or complicated tasks, such as skidding the rig, we will stop a few times throughout the job and get the team together for a kind of refresher JPP or step back 5 x 5 (step back five paces from the job and take five minutes to identify hazards). We will discuss where we are at in the job, what needs to be done next, who will be doing it and figure out the best way to proceed. I’ve noticed this seems to help a lot – to just step back a minute and look at what you’re doing and assess the situation usually makes jobs go smoother.

9. Good management of crews by drillers

Drillers check rig hands’ STOP books throughout the day and ensure their hands are fit for duty and doing regular inspections on equipment. Plus, Drillers also play an important role in helping to keep their team motivated.

10. Hiring good people

Hiring people that have a “want to” attitude and good safety ethics is important. I cannot say enough good things about these guys for getting us to five years (without an incident). This is a major achievement in all of our eyes and we would not have gotten here without our team.

Safety comes first at Trinidad Drilling

Walsworth, who has been in the industry 12 years, said the first thing he noticed when he started with Trinidad six years ago was the company’s attitude towards safety – at Trinidad, safety came before production demands. At some other companies, he’d noticed that list of priorities was reversed.

“Trinidad has given us all the tools we need to work safely – as long as we apply them,” stated Walsworth.

Learn more about the safety culture at Trinidad.

What are your top tips for running a safe rig?

Share them with us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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