Guest post: 6 safe years on Trinidad Drilling’s Rig 124

Trinidad Drilling's Rig 124 in the U.S.Brandon Merriman and Trinidad Drilling have a “from the beginning” kind of relationship. The Rig Manager has worked with Trinidad since he started his drilling career more than eight years ago, and he has worked on Rig 124 from the time it hit the field in 2009.

“I bleed Trinidad green,” said Merriman, who lives in northern Louisiana and has seen Trinidad’s U.S. division grow from its early days (we started operating south of the 49th parallel in 2005).

Merriman was at Rig 124’s helm when it celebrated six years without a recordable incident in June. This week, we decided to hand the blog over to Merriman to talk about his rig’s safety journey:

Guest blogger Brandon Merriman looks back on six years of safety

Seeing Rig 124 for the first time

When asked how we achieved a six-year safety milestone, the answer came pretty simply. I remember seeing the rig for the first time in March of ’09, and I remember thinking that we had a fresh rig with a fresh beginning – an opportunity to create something great.

Building a safe rig

From the start, we focused on teaching our coworkers more about their specific jobs than what most rig workers were used to. We put a lot of emphasis on training and auditing to ensure everyone had advanced knowledge of rig tasks and the equipment used to complete those tasks.

We coached everyone daily on the safety triangle (which outlines ways to create a proactive safety culture) and ensured everyone had the knowledge and ability to use each of the tools in the safety toolbox.

And, importantly, we placed a high value on “Rig Talk.” I firmly believe that strong communication is the key to achieving a safe workplace. Having strong communication between one cohesive family, not separating a rig into its four crews, is essential to working safely.

“Having strong communication between one cohesive family, not separating a rig into its four crews, is essential to working safely.”

When safety culture takes flight

We noticed that increased training on operations and equipment also increased the amount of quality “Look-Out” cards being reviewed in our safety meetings. (The Look-Out program teaches crew members to look for, stop and report unsafe activities. Once they’ve stopped an activity, they complete an observation card to ensure steps are taken to prevent the risk in the future.)

After digging into this trend a little, it became obvious that training our guys more and more to identify the hazards involved in each task opened their eyes to hazards that had gone unnoticed before.

Using the Look-Out program as an opportunity to stop and talk about not only the unsafe act but the consequences of that act strengthened our commitment to the safety program. We also shared each crew’s observations with the rest of the rig. This allowed unsafe acts/conditions to be communicated throughout the rig – ­another way to allow the rig to act as one unit.

Every person who’s ever worked on this rig, and who’ll ever work on this rig, matters

Ultimately, I attribute the success of Rig 124 to each person’s commitment to the safety program. In six years we have seen people come and go, whether it was for a promotion to a different rig or interest in another job, but I still remember everyone’s name because every person that came to us came as a family member and was treated as such. Every person cared about, valued and respected one another. Without that, I don’t believe six years would have come so easily.

Read about safety milestones on other Trinidad rigs:

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