Oil & Gas Safety Management – Continuous Improvement Drives Continuous Success

Employ tools that can adapt to your program needs

The U.S. Department of Labor released its review of 2017 workplace fatalities at the end of last year.  This report provided a mixed assessment of safety’s progress over the calendar year. While the overall number of fatal workplace injuries reduced by .8% to 5,147 in the year, the number of fatalities in O&G actually rose 26% from 2016.  Drilling, completion, and production operations made up almost 60% of the fatalities per the 2017 study on O&G fatalities published by the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

These facts may surprise some, but those working in the O&G industry know it continues to be an inherently dangerous field.  Likewise, the culprits that continue to plague the industry mostly remain unchanged; vehicle accidents, falls, equipment contact, and harmful exposures remain top of the list.  The persistence of these same modalities reinforces the need for continuous improvement tools in safety management.  Safety programs need to continually evolve to manage the complex needs of O&G field, refinery, and transport operations.  That’s where safety management software can help.  Worker engagement, improved data collection, and real-time trend analysis available through these capable software systems can help most any organization.  Today’s safety management program must ensure the entire organization has the ability and authority to assess and report safety issues and anomalies, regardless of the process and procedures in place.  As a 2016 ILO report quoted in regards to OSH management systems:

Standards may, in some instances, be counterproductive for safety, since it can reduce the ability to deal with unexpected events. The company’s efforts to reduce variation in the performance of work processes seem to be based upon an assumption that human error is the prime cause of accidents, and that the goal of safety management is to reduce variation in worker behaviour. However, this view runs the risk of overlooking that human behaviour is a key resource for safety. Safety is dependent on the situated actions of human beings, in order to deal with the operational anomalies which are inevitable aspects of high risk environments.

Most O&G safety programs can readily handle the ‘known’ risks that occur on a regular basis.  But what about those ‘unknown’ risks that may be new or occur at a very,very low rate?  Recently, an O&G safety professional shared a story about a cougar sighting at a new work site.  A field worker was concerned because the cougar didn’t seen to be afraid of people on the job site.  He was alarmed by the situation, but let it go because he didn’t know how to report a cougar sighting.  The safety manager overheard two employees discussing the event and became even more alarmed when he realized the location was next to a walking path that provided access to a local school.  Suddenly the work site safety concern also became an urgent public safety concern.  Thankfully, the situation resolved itself without incident.

Sometimes unexpected things can happen in O&G…be ready for the unexpected.

The Sospes collection of safety management solutions can help most any safety organization with its continuous improvement efforts.  Contact us at the link below for a free, no obligation, safety consultation.

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