Motor vehicle crashes are the largest contributor to fatalities and serious injuries in the oil and gas industry. This paper describes the steps taken by a large multi-national energy Company to create, deploy, and implement an approach to improve motor vehicle safety (MVS).

As Company operations extend across 180 countries, the acceptance and success of the approach required solutions that were both targeted yet flexible enough to be adaptable for a host of different business environments and operational challenges.

The approach was developed by a multi-disciplined Project Team. The team sought input from a wide range of stakeholders within the Company, developed an understanding and response to cultural boundaries and benchmarked best practices worldwide. All of this input was leveraged to develop an approach compatible with the Company's culture and help to ensure its success.

Specific key areas designed to improve MVS and necessary for the success included:

  1. Setting clear expectations: MVS-specific expectations have been established in the Company's safety management system.

  2. Providing tools and resources: multiple tools were created to assist line operating units in developing their own customized programs. These tools include a comprehensive guidance document, an assessment tool, an audit tool, and a process and tools to assist organizations in creating a concrete action plan to improve MVS. Additionally, web-based resources have been established to link line units with tools and information.

  3. Engaging the workforce: a comprehensive deployment process was developed that line units can use to engage their workers in MVS improvement.

  4. Sustaining the effort through knowledge management: a Company-wide network of subject matter experts with expertise and/or responsibility for MVS has been established.

  5. Increasing leader's participation: specific elements of the Company's approach have been designed to increase the role of leaders to emphasize the priority for MVS.

Improving MVS is complex and requires a comprehensive approach with customizable solutions.


Driving is one of the most significant health and safety risks in the oil and gas industry. Even though the majority of industry workers are exposed on a daily basis, it is an activity largely unsupervised and uncontrolled. Crashes account for the single largest cause of workplace fatalities - 28%1 of 2002 industry fatalities and over 50% for the authors' Company during 2000–2003. With every fatality and critical injury estimated to equate to a cost of US$1 million2, the human suffering and financial impact was sobering and likely to increase3, unless significant change was instigated.

While all of the Company's operating units have active safety systems, only some had implemented dedicated MVS programs. Among those with dedicated MVS programs, there were variable standards. Several programs were complex and inconsistently implemented, and while there were areas of excellence, many programs had limited effectiveness in reducing crashes.

The case for urgent change was compelling. Consequently the Company began an initiative with the goal to develop and effectively implement a Company-wide approach to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries caused by crashes.

Process Used

The initiative was developed by a 14 member multi- disciplined Project Team. Project Team members were strategically selected to ensure an optimal input of safety and motor vehicle operational expertise in addition to adequate representation of Countries and operational types.

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