Why Oil & Gas Companies Need to Combine Safety and Operational Excellence

The Oil & Gas industry is booming. With recent advances in technology, supplies of new sources of energy (shale gas, oil from shale, tight sands and the deepwater, natural-gas liquids, etc.) are being discovered everywhere, particularly in the US. Oil & Gas companies are scrambling to construct additional derricks, platforms, and rigs to take advantage of these new resources, while at the same time squeezing as much productivity out of existing assets as possible. However, as companies push to expand their operations and capacity they run the risk of overlooking their most important charge, the safety of their workforce.

When asked in a recent Aberdeen survey "what is the driving force behind your focus on safety", a Best-in-Class trend was revealed that the Oil & Gas industry in particular can learn from (Figure 1).

 

Figure 1: Operational Excellent Safety

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Source: Aberdeen Group Feb 2014

Best-in-Class companies realize the connection between safe operations and efficient operations – this shows itself in the safety improvements that are being driven by OpEx program teams. It is important to involve this group; it will allow you to construct a safety program that is not only effective in limiting incidents, but that it is optimized operationally. Good safety improvement teams view injuries and incidents are a form of waste that needs to be targeted and eliminated from the process. In addition, productivity and asset downtime are impacted by manual safety processes or controls. The Oil & Gas industry as a whole is less likely than true Best-in-Class companies to embrace this approach as only 45% of respondents indicated. This is especially alarming considering that this is a lower rate than All Others; if Oil & Gas companies do not emulate the Best-in-Class then they will risk being left behind.

Four important things for Oil & Gas companies can do to improve safety:

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Topics: Safety Management, Health and Safety Compliance, Health and Safety Program Management