What every company should know about their employees’ certifications and training credentials…
Companies spend huge amounts of resources and time training, equipping and preparing their crews every year. So, to have an employee unable to provide proof of their credentials or certifications when they get stopped by a DOT, OSHA or MSHA agent can be infuriating. Not only can it cost fines and additional legal troubles that no company ever wants, it also just looks bad. And any safety or compliance manger will tell you (maybe not in writing), that employees forget things all of the time. In the Oil and Gas industry, a crewman’s primary focus is on accomplishing the task that day. That means packing the proper equipment, possibly loading massive machines and coordinating travel to a remote site. It can be easy to forget a small piece of paper or ID badge at the shop. And once you’ve hit the road, turning back for it could cost you an entire morning. Not to mention they might not want to admit to forgetting something for fear of looking bad. But what’s the alternative? Possibly getting stopped by an inspector which they might see as unlikely. Whether they choose to go back or push on, too much time and energy is spent on something so basic.
I was talking with the Operations Manager of a company that provides services to some of the largest energy companies in the world. Their crews move around the country performing specialized work for companies like Exxon Mobil, Kinder Morgan and Chevron. As one might expect, their customers are held to high standards when it comes to operational and process safety, so when anyone steps foot on one of these sites, they must adhere to the very same, stringent policies. Particularly involving employee certifications. This Operations Manager was explaining how they had just won a bid for one of their larger clients. Their crew geared up and drove out to begin the five-day project and on the first day of the project, the Operations Manager gets a call that you never want to get.
“We’re here at the gate and they won’t let us on the site to begin work because I forgot my certifications at home.”
A simple mistake that is putting the entire job at risk and even worse, threatening the company’s credibility with their customer. What does he do? Well the Operations Manager doesn’t panic. What the crew had forgotten, is that their company has a system called Sospes from which employees can submit various reports and inspections to management but more importantly, users can also access employee certifications and credentials from any mobile device. The employee hangs up the phone and pulls up his and the entire crew’s credentials, with scannable pictures, right there on the spot and off they go. The project is saved. No lost time. No lost credibility. It costs the company $10/year to give that specific employee digital access to his credentials and it just saved them quite possibly millions in the long run. I am so thankful that he shared this story with me because it’s a great example of where investing in process-related technology can be a total game changer. It may not always save you millions, but imagine just the time saving and efficiency improvements a company gets implementing this kind of technology. That’s a competitive edge if you ask me.