Safety culture has matured significantly in the oil and gas industry. Accident rates have declined substantially in recent decades and two important step change improvements can be observed. The first relates to the introduction of basic safety controls, the second to the development of more complex management systems. The oil and gas industry and the health and safety community believe that the next step change can be achieved through behavior-based safety (BBS).
While BBS is a long-established concept, its implementation as a discipline has been limited. Many companies have found that long-lasting behavioral change that reduces accidents is not easy to accomplish. Investigations continue to show that most accidents are associated with unsafe acts.
This paper describes the launch of a BBS program in an oilfield services company. The program provides employees with practical skills such as how to observe unsafe acts and how to intervene before an accident happens while overcoming interpersonal relationship barriers. Observing and encouraging safe behaviors is equally emphasized. The training is complementary to the company's other injury prevention, competence, and accountability programs.
The paper describes the program, the training methodology, its application on a continent-wide scale, and the measurement of results over the first full year of implementation and tens of thousands of interventions. The findings and the methodology can be applied to organizations of almost any size as a practical methodology for improving behavior.
The results show that, based on this methodology, which encourages open conversation, risk awareness, and mutual commitment, risk reduction at a work-site can be achieved. Accidents may be further reduced, improving from the current plateau in accident rate performance. For this oilfield services company, the BBS program is a significant contribution to its health, safety, and environment training practices: promoting a visible management style; serving as an important means of measuring active supervision; improving communication and feedback; and encouraging safe behavior.
The authors hope that this paper will help engaged organizations to move up the HSE culture maturity ladder and enjoy its many benefits.