Creating a world class safety culture is difficult under any circumstances. Creating one culture when two distinct cultures exist is a bigger challenge. This paper is designed to provide a roadmap for how to bring two cultures together to act as one.

The Expatriates and Brasilian cultures have many similarities as well as differences. The challenge comes down to "How do you have these conversations when you do not speak the same language?" Both sides have legitimate merits for not speaking each other's language, yet there is a conflict in the perspectives. This is not a one-dimensional issue. It is not a "nice-to-have solution". It is a safety and operational issue for both contractor and operator with both human monetary cost. Once we agree on these points, both sides have to take steps.

What we did was have each person commit to learning 30 words of the other person's language. We kept it real, simple and personal. Expatriate drill crew members were asked to make a list of what 30 words, or phrases, do we need our Brasillian co-workers to know in English that would help the safety and efficiency of the drilling operations. Their Brasillian counterparts did the same for the Ex-pats. We repeated this with all disciplines on the rig. The results were fascinating. Not only did they learn the 30 words (116 people, 81% of the crew were successful) most people went beyond 30 words. The result was more than improved communications and understanding, there was a unified culture of "us". In conclusion the concept worked because learning 30 words was a stepping stone to bigger things. Once people started to use these words; risk assessments, the use of "Para" and safety conversations became more efficient with the increased communication. This has led to more personal conversations about family and career aspirations.

The significance is that you cannot create a world class safety culture when you have two cultures that are not integrated. Once the cultures come together, this sets the stage for developing a world class safety culture. The operator, contractor and individuals get a "win-win-win".

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.