Company's Revised Approach to Safety Strives To Make Standards More Natural
- Adam Wilson (JPT Editorial Manager)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 122 - 124
- 2013. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 28 since 2007
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This article, written by Editorial Manager Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 163757, "A Hurt-Based Approach to Safety," by R.M. Smith, SPE, and M.L. Jones, ExxonMobil, prepared for the 2013 SPE Americas E&P Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental Conference, Galveston, Texas, 18-20 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
ExxonMobil has traditionally used industry standards driven by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to classify safety events on the basis of the treatment or restrictions provided. However, this treatment-based approach has limitations. With its focus on administrative reporting and incident-escalation management, the approach does not naturally resonate with workforce members to enable desired cultural changes. A hurt-based approach has been adopted to mitigate the limitations of the treatment-based approach.
Traditional Treatment-Based Approach
In the treatment-based approach to personnel safety, an incident, from the treatment or restrictions provided, is classified as a lost-time incident (LTI), restricted-work incident (RWI), medical-treatment incident (MTI), first aid, no treatment, near miss, or unsafe act/unsafe condition. These are usually represented by the traditional safety pyramid (Fig. 1). Benefits of this approach include
- It provides historical metrics common across multiple industries.
- It allows comparisons on a similar basis.
- It is consistent with many government/regulatory-agency reporting requirements.
However, this approach also has significant limitations:
- It is not consistently descriptive of actual injury severity; for example, body damage such as a minor laceration, a sprained ankle, or a broken neck could each be correctly classified as an LTI, depending on the circumstances.
- It does not have an integral potential injury severity; safety events with low actual consequence (e.g., minor hurt, near misses) are often overlooked or simply not reported.
- It creates a blind spot relative to exposures for severe injuries by focusing solely on traditional safety metrics [e.g., total recordable incident rate (TRIR), LTI rate (LTIR)]; certain activities and activities managed by safety controls require greater exposure awareness.
- It is not an enabler for a culture of caring; workers can perceive case-management priority to be about reducing the number of recordables (perhaps by minimizing treatment) and not about the elimination of all injuries.
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