Waterfall, K.W., Sarawak Shell Bhd. (Malaysia)

Effectiveness of Enhanced Safety Management

Sarawak Shell Berhad (SSB) and Sabah Shell Petroleum Company (SSPC) are oil and gas exploration and production Companies working under a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) for PETRONAS. They operate or control the activities of Drilling-Rigs, Barges, vessels and approximately 100 Production Facilities offshore Sarawak and Sabah. Additionally they operate three onshore oil and gas terminals to treat the products prior to export.

Current production levels are in the order of 200,000 bbl/day of oil and 1000 million scf/day of gas. The Company employs some 3,000 Company personnel and approximately 2,600 contractor employees. With this spread of activities and this number of people there are many areas and operations being conducted on a daily basis which have the potential for accidents to occur. Whilst the programme and procedures stated in this paper are generally applicable throughout the Shell Group the references to Shell should be construed in this context as being relevant to SSB/SSPC activities only.

Shell has always been conscious of the need for improved safety and reduction of the risk of accidents throughout its operations and in 1984 it embarked on an intensive campaign of Enhanced Safety Management (ESM), which is modelled on the approach taken by Du Pont Organisation. Du Pont are the world renowned leaders in Safety Management and extensive use was made of their Safety Consultancy Division to establish Shell's ESM Programme. This programme has brought about a major improvement in Safety performance which is both sustainable and ongoing. Experience has shown that we can summarize the essentials of ESM to be:

  • Duty of care for the employees and the business.

  • Line responsibility and accountability.

  • People.......... not things (whilst high equipment standards are necessary it is our experience that people and their actions cause 80% of all accidents)

  • No compromises

Once a safety policy is established it must be rigidly enforced in all of the following aspects:

  1. Clear communicated Safety Policy.

  2. Visible Management Commitment.

  3. Full acceptance of Line responsibility and accountability.

  4. Competent Safety Organisation.

  5. Specific safety targets.

  6. Clear and understood rules/procedures/standards.

  7. Structured Design Safety Control.

  8. Frequent inspection/audits.

  9. Training.

  10. Complete accident reporting/investigation/ measurement/learning.

  11. Continued motivation and communication.

This policy and its enforcement has resulted in a reduction of accident frequency for Shell Companies which is still continuing.

This paper will deal with the way that ESM is implemented in Shell Companies and also with how we control our process designs to control our operations and so minimise the risk of major accident occurrence.


The diagram below indicates the relationship between fatal accidents, less serious injuries and situations which could result in an accident. Many minor events when combined have the potential to result in a fatal accident and even cause calamities such as Chernobyl, Bhopal and Flixborough.

It is not possible to predict in advance when a fatal accident is going to occur or how to prevent it. Only by eliminating all unsafe acts and conditions can we be sure to prevent accident and injury and our Enhanced Safety Management Policy aims to do just that.

P. 808^

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