Guest post: Busting safety myths on the rigs

safety myths

Every Trinidad employee deserves to go home safe. Even the most “minor” safety incident is one incident too many – that’s why we do everything we can to continue building our safety culture, including busting safety myths.

There are a lot of safety myths out there – and we’ve heard them all. One of the best ways to improve safety is to make decisions based on the data and facts, not myths.

To help us sort fact from fiction, we talked to Derek Hibbard, Trinidad’s General Manager, Global HSE. Keep reading to get Derek’s take on seven of the biggest safety myths.


Myth 1: “We don’t need to investigate; we already know what happened.”

When an incident occurs on our rigs, instinct drives us to jump to conclusions or make assumptions based on what happened in the past.

BUSTED: Doing a complete, comprehensive and unbiased investigation is critical to understanding what truly happened. Only then can we determine the true root causes and put measures in place to correct them. Preventing confirmation bias is a critical success factor in the incident investigation process.


Myth 2: “Equipment doesn’t fail.”

We tend to be overly confident in the equipment we work with and around, assuming that it can never fail or break.

BUSTED: Keeping a healthy skepticism and making sure other controls are in place will help to offset an over-reliance on equipment and to reduce our overall risk tolerance. Safety factors are always driven into equipment design, but we don’t want to be in a position to rely only on a single barrier.


Myth 3: “I’m bulletproof.”

We have a workforce made up of younger, mostly male workers who tend to be overly confident in their physical capabilities, often resulting in a higher risk tolerance.

BUSTED: Last time we checked, none of us are superheroes. Cutting corners based on false confidence could lead to you, or someone on you team, getting hurt or worse.


Myth 4: “Shortcuts are okay.”

Our drilling crews are not immune to the age-old idea that “the end justifies the means”.

BUSTED: Our teams have to understand achieving our true performance potential only happens if we do it the right way. Don’t take shortcuts; follow the policy or procedure. This decreases the level of risk. That means not taking shortcuts, as well as following policies and procedures – they’re in place to ensure safe and flawless execution.


Myth 5: “My personal protective equipment will keep me safe.”

Like the equipment we use, we tend to have an over-reliance in the personal protective equipment (PPE) that we wear on the job.

BUSTED: PPE is the last line of defence, not the first. PPE is only intended to prevent unwanted consequences from worsening, not to prevent them in the first place. Having a broad range of controls to supplement the PPE we provide helps to reduce the overall risk tolerance of our operations.


Myth 6: “If we focus on personal safety, we’ll stop from hurting people.”

The focus on preventing personal injuries is a critical part of overall safety performance. But it’s not the only part.

BUSTED: To really drive world-class safety performance and a sustainable culture, it’s also critical to understand how all the elements of our management systems – including policies, processes, procedures, training, IT systems, infrastructure, etc. – contribute to the safe and efficient field operations and execution.


Myth 7: “It’s about performance means we have to drill faster.”

In an industry driven by efficiency and performance, expectations can sometimes bring pressure from all around us.  Performance in the drilling business is generally measured on how efficiently we make a hole in the ground – after all, we make our living either on a day rate or by footage drilled.

BUSTED: Having our operations focused on fast and efficient drilling goes without saying, but for us to drill a successful well, we need to meet all of our customers’ metrics, as well as our own: zero harm to people, the environment, our equipment, our customer’s well, and our reputation within the community at large.


When it comes to safety, knowledge is power. Check out some more safety tips worth spreading and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram – we post safety tips every Tuesday!


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