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One of the largest natural gas producing operations in North America enjoyed a long-term positive safety record but site operations managers were aware of ongoing risk-taking actions. The organization operated over 700 producing wells with a full-time employee base of 55 people who also traveled long distances over rugged terrain to service the sites. Managers were concerned that lone workers were not consistently working safely. Also, the operation depended heavily on outside contractors to perform much of the fieldwork (hiring out more than 250,000 man hours per year, up to 60 percent of the workforce). Management and supervision had less control over contractor safety and also experienced a 300 percent turnover with contractor personnel—a factor they believed to further heighten risks.e of the largest natural gas producing operations in North America enjoyed a long-term positive safety record but site operations managers were aware of ongoing risk-taking actions. The organization operated over 700 producing wells with a full-time employee base of 55 people who also traveled long distances over rugged terrain to service the sites.
Aubrey Daniels International (ADI) consultants performed an onsite study of high-risk behavior and standard safety procedures. One area of high concern involved a procedure that if done incorrectly could result in hazardous gas flash fires and natural gas explosions. During behavioral observations, ADI discovered that employees consistently deviated from procedures despite the possible hazards involved in doing so. The ADI team facilitated a communications session in which management learned that employees had purposely eliminated several safety steps deeming them redundant and unnecessarily time consuming. During a guided walk through, management and field worker teams realized that some of the steps were indeed unnecessary but that one of the steps employees had omitted was highly important for a reason workers had not previously understood. The new mutually agreeable procedure virtually eliminated this potentially dangerous problem. Also, ADI helped management establish an ongoing safety and communication intervention with contract workers that quickly increased use of safety equipment and demonstration of safe behavior. Contractors who volunteered to participate were then able to reduce worker’s compensation costs and offer more to employees, thus making a significant turnaround in retention.
“The cost of the process was roughly the average cost of one disabling accident. We see the process as a major success. It helps people think about what they are doing
and gives them the tools they need to do something about it.”
– Operations Center Foreman
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