HSSE remains vital in oil & gas
Revenues might be down, but health and safety issues are more important than ever, Adrian Gannon elaborates
There is no doubt that the sustained low oil price has had an effect on the industry, it is hoped that cost cutting regimes will not had a negative effect on safety. Analysts point out a range of other negative and some positive effects that the current trends are having.
For those who work in the oil and gas industry the negative effects of the market are apparent however the industry and the culture that has developed maybe more resilient than we give credit. Xodus recently completed a safety climate survey as part of a safety culture program on behalf of an oil and gas operator in the Middle East (operator will not be named for confidentiality reasons). The results of this survey indicated that the situation was not as bleak as we would have imagined, in fact the results of the study were very positive showing both an improved safety culture over a five year period and a favourable benchmark against international good practice.
The survey was completed using an online survey platform and was therefore able to be shared with staff in various locations so long as they had access to a compute with internet facilities. The survey consisted of 25 questions that were completed by over 800 personnel and resulted in a completion rate of approximately 97%, the completion rate alone was very impressive indicating that those who were invited to participate gladly participated. A range of demographic questions were used including length of service, age, nationality and employment status (contractor or staff). The survey did not identify any significant demographic influences on culture.
Survey data identified two features:
The operator compared positively to an international benchmark
There was a noted improvement since the last study was carried out (2010).
The benchmark data used was the safety climate and risk on offshore oil platforms on the Norwegian continental shelf. When results were analysed across four categories the analysis demonstrated that the Middle East operator performed favourably when compared against the international benchmark, results are displayed in the graph below.
This operator also completed a study in 2010, again the results compared very favourable with the 2015 study. Nine questions were repeated from the 2010 survey and appeared again in the 2015 survey. There was an overall improvement in the safety culture in the five year period, assuming that the last survey was undertaken by a similar group of respondents.
The industry can take satisfaction from the results of the safety climate survey. Although culture is a long and enduring state the climate at the time of the study appears very positive. Although this is just an isolated study it demonstrates that the values that have developed in this organisation over a substantial period of time are not that easily eroded and are able to endure the current challenge the industry is facing.