A few weeks ago, we spoke with John Meckert about his thirty-year career in the industry and how a few key moments changed his perspective on safety forever. This week, Meckert explains how he and his team helped Trinidad hit its lowest company-wide total recordable incident rate (TRIR)* in 21 years.
“In 2016, Trinidad achieved a TRIR of 0.75,” said Meckert, Trinidad’s Vice President of HSE and QMS. “Meaning we had fewer recordable incidents than ever on our rigs.”
Driving Trinidad’s safety record to all-time lows
Down from a rate of over one in 2015, Meckert believes our 2016 TRIR is a reflection of how well Trinidad’s proactive safety efforts are working. It is also a reflection of the company’s safety culture.
“Safety is encouraged and reinforced in everything we do – right down to the quality of our Look-Out observations. It’s who we are,” Meckert explained. “It doesn’t take long for new employees to realize the way things work at Trinidad when it comes to safety and operational performance expectations.”
Three ways Trinidad’s safety program excels
- Learning from each other
Meckert explained that he and his team are focused on bringing everyone at Trinidad up to speed on safety across all divisions. By circulating safety experiences like near misses or flash alerts company-wide, leaders and their crews can be sure negative events aren’t repeated and positive ones are replicated on each and every rig.
“Getting everyone involved is a big part of our safety program,” explained Meckert. “Last year we worked hard to consistently promote strong safety performances and highlight safety lessons learned. The results of doing so have been very positive.”
- Creating a non-confrontational safety environment
Part of learning from each other is creating an environment where rig hands feel comfortable talking about near misses or stopping unsafe work activities – even if they’re stopping their superiors. Meckert explains this isn’t an easy thing to do, but our rig managers and drillers are working on creating this environment.
“We’re getting to the point where safety is non-confrontational. No matter your position on the rig, you have a responsibility to yourself and to your crew to speak up and stop unsafe work. This is something we will always reinforce.”
- Putting proactive safety tools to use
Meckert and his team provide Trinidad’s rig crews with the tools and support they need to make safe decisions. One of Trinidad’s most important proactive safety tools is our Look-Out program, where rig hands are taught to keep an eye out for at-risk behaviours or unsafe conditions on and around the rig.
“A healthy Look-Out program is when anyone on the rig can approach anyone else and understand that they’re not one-upping each other, but that they have their best interests at heart in stopping an unsafe act and preventing an injury.”
“It’s a hard thing to do, but the leaders on the rig create that environment.”
Analyzing near misses, flash alerts and Look-Out cards gives Meckert insight on the state of safety on any particular rig. “We expect to see cards and we expect to see them done well when we visit a rig,” noting that too many cards are always better than too few. “Silence (on the proactive side) makes us nervous,” said Meckert.
More than numbers, safety is about people
It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers when it comes to safety, but it’s important to remember these numbers reflect people’s lives and that people have not had their life impacted by a life-altering injury.
“Knowing that serious injuries at Trinidad were avoided is where the real recognition and pride should come from,” concluded Meckert. “We’re working towards the day when we’re talking about all of Trinidad’s rigs going five years with no recordables and not simply an individual rig.”
We’ve said it before, and we’ll continue to say it. Although last year’s TRIR of under one marked a significant safety milestone at Trinidad, we’re not about to rest on our laurels. Since the company’s inception, founder Mike Heier vowed we’d take care of our people – a vow that continues to be part of everything we do.
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*In Canada, industry uses total recordable incident frequency (TRIF), which is a twelve month rolling average that indicates how often there is a recordable safety incident.
Safety snapshots: a look at some of Trinidad’s rig safety moments over the last year