This is the first post in Trinidad’s “Focus on safety” blog series.
When the market slumps, does safety get pinched? Do companies only strive to meet the minimum standards?
These were some of the critical questions discussed last week at the Oil and Gas Awards Industry Summit in Calgary. Trinidad Drilling’s Bradley Huber, General Manager of HSE for our Canadian drilling division, was a member of the health and safety panel that addressed some of these pressing topics.
Here are some of the insights Huber shared during the discussion.
1. Does the oil downturn make companies less focused on health and safety?
“I think this has actually given us a great opportunity to take a look at our programs and spend some quality time improving,” said Huber, who added that he’s busier now than when oil and gas was booming.
“We’re putting people (back) to work with the right training and the right mentorship,” he explained. “With the downturn, I believe it has given us the opportunity to focus on what we did well and what we need to focus on in the future.”
2. Do companies learn from incidents?
Trinidad’s goal is to keep every team member safe every day, but if an incident occurs, we do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
3. What can organizations do to improve safety?
Here are a couple best practices Huber emphasized:
- Keep an open mind
“You may have a green guy that comes to a site, and he’s questioning what you’re doing. You need to keep an open mind and listen to him,” Huber said, because that person may know of a new technology or a more efficient way to do things.
- Safety needs to be supported by company leadership
Huber was emphatic that senior leaders can play a key role in improving safety by going into the field and talking to their teams.
“When you see senior management out there, it makes such an impact on the workers,” he said.
Trinidad Drilling was a nominee at the 2015 Canada Oil and Gas Awards in the category of Excellence in Health & Safety – Operational.
4. When it comes to safety, do companies only aim for the minimum standard?
A company that only wants to meet the minimum standard is not a company people want to work for, Huber pointed out.
“Employees are smart people, and they want to work for an employer that’s going to do the right thing,” he said.
Plus, many oil and gas companies demand safety programs that exceed minimum regulations.
“You have to either meet the standards of those big companies, or you aren’t going to work for them,” he said plainly.