For an oilfield service company to implement an effective safety program, the management of the company must be committed to the safety of its employees, its customers, and the environment through a common global safety philosophy. Management responsibility extends beyond reacting and correcting safety problems. For a safety program to reach the goal of "zero accidents," it must take a proactive approach, identifying and correcting known hazards before an accident occurs. There are numerous essential elements of the approach i.e., reporting, not only unsafe acts and conditions, but also near misses.

Successful safety programs require proactive processes or safety management systems which are more than a program but a philosophy - a method of management consisting of common concepts and attitudes, and a belief that "there must be a deliberate path to follow for continuous improvement." Safety management systems require a continual process of teaching, implementing, auditing, action, and management review. Such systems center around four major processes: eliminate, control, train, and require.

An effective safety management system also allows for the development of safety contingency plans to address any customer requirements or local safety regulations not covered by the established plan.

This paper presents the essential elements of an effective oilfield service company safety management system and discusses the value of establishing a proactive, globally audited safety program. Methods of implementation and continual improvement are presented.


A study of history reveals that safety in some fashion or form has always been utilized. However, safety did not really become organized, with a direct purpose, until the industrial revolution around the turn of the century. This was due to the mass of accidents and losses resulting from the increase in hazards. Since that time, safety has continued to improve through programs which usually consist of elements i.e.,

+ Management Involvement + Training + Personnel Involvement + Accident Investigation + Audits

Although safety has generally improved, many of the programs utilized heretofore consisted of processes which were reactive, or directed to address the crisis areas, thus producing little or no improvement.

Today, technology is changing the work environment faster than ever before. This combined with strong emphasis on occupational safety and health issues requires service companies to provide solutions for multiple, sometimes complex, health and safety problems. Service companies must provide effective safety programs today and continue to do so in future years.

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