The Oil & Gas industry requires an accident free project. Today the international majors recognize that the last obstacle to achieving this is cultural.

This paper describes a research conducted on the link between leadership and safety culture, in the area of EPC projects, focusing on the construction contractor's project manager.

Construction project teams, whether on or offshore, are composed of several organizations coming together for the duration of the work. The main contractor project manager holds the position of a natural leader when it comes to gathering all the entities that make up the project across from the client: joint venture and consortium partners, and subcontractors. It's up to him to set the tone, to shape the safety culture.

How does the contractor project manager rally to a common safety vision teams with different cultural backgrounds? Are there limits to building a common culture, of what nature are they?

The research explores the link between leadership and culture, and derives a "cultural model" from a review of Industry "best practices". A set of interviews were conducted on three EPC projects in order to compare actual management practices with those of the model. The impact of the project social structure on these practices was studied as a factor having an impact on the extent to which the project manager's leadership can succeed in creating a common safety culture.

Projects that achieved a common safety culture did so by adapting management practices to the structure of the project. They were able to find the keys to cooperation with partner organizations, accross original cultural differences, in order to get safety vision buy-in from them.

This paper will be of interest to construction project managers, contractors and oil & gas companies alike, and CAPEX managers.

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