The oil and gas industry is no stranger to accidents. Historical data show that safety-related risks can be catastrophic – both in terms of worker safety and financial impact on the company.
Health and safety leaders in the oil & gas industry have to tackle several risks: offshore platform and rig disasters could lead to massive explosions and oil slicks; harsh weather conditions and the unpredictable behavior of the oceanic weather systems can cause havoc to regular operations; And, bad equipment design or poor emergency procedures can compound safety-related problems manifold.
But, in most cases, the real culprit is – lack of a well-defined safety culture.
So, what exactly do we mean by safety culture? In simple terms, it is “about the beliefs and attitude of your employees when it comes to safety”. If safety leaders are able to rally together the entire organization to proactively report incidents, near-misses, and safety observations and “be at it” when it comes to mitigation efforts, overall safety metrics would certainly become better.
In fact, a study identifies human factors as the most common cause for 69% of the accidents recorded in onshore locations. While 86% of the accidents involved contractors, 28% occurred during drilling, workover, and well services. In 90% of the cases, lack of safety precautions in contractor’s work environment was a primary contributing factor.
As a safety leader, wouldn’t you like to have a finger on the pulse of all key safety parameters? Wouldn’t it make your life easier, if you are able to proactively “prevent” incidents instead of dealing with one after it happens?
To know more about how Canada-based Altex Energy using CQ EHS to automate their incident management workflow, read this case study here:
Limitations of Manual Safety Management Systems
Even with management commitment, manual systems can severely restrict the effectiveness of safety measures and slow down the response time to any incident.
Altex Energy Ltd., a Canadian crude oil transloading company, founded in 2005 and headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, was using paper-based processes for its QHSE (quality, health, safety, and environment) program management. A rapidly growing company with four locations in Western Canada, the company provides transportation solutions for oil products, including railroad tank cars, managing all facets of shipping from the source to its destination. Altex Energy plays a key role in connecting oil producers to markets in Canada and the U.S.
As the leading provider of terminal services for moving heavy oil and bitumen (a substance produced through the distillation of crude oil) by rail — maintaining health, safety, and environmental compliance is critical not only for risk mitigation but also for operational efficiency. The company was using a combination of tools such as pen-and-paper, Microsoft SharePoint, Word, Excel, and a mobile field-data collection app. This made it difficult to close the loop between maintenance, quality and safety processes. The company needed an efficient and scalable solution that would ensure 100% traceability of compliance initiatives and was watertight from an auditing standpoint as well.
It needed a solution that offered the following:
- Scalability and flexibility
- Designed for easy teamwork and collaboration, especially for incident management, audits and risk management actions
- Ability to provide a unified view of data, including real-time dashboards
- Configurable, as per the company’s current process flow
- Predictive analytics to capture trends and proactively suggest risk mitigation actions
The Key: Digital Transformation of the Entire Workflow
Automation is increasingly becoming important in the oil and gas industry for improving response to incidents, increase safety, compliance, and visibility into processes.
According to a Technavio report published in PR Newswire, between 2021 and 2025, the global automation solutions market in the oil and gas industry is expected to grow by USD 1.73 billion at a CAGR of over 3%. Apart from regulatory needs, the industry is looking at automating upstream activities to reduce accidents and meet stringent safety standards.
Keeping in line with this trend, Altex too opted to automate its safety management system and selected ComplianceQuest’s cloud-based EHS solution, built on the Salesforce platform. As a result:
- It was able toreduce its incident closure time by 30% through standardization and centralization of processes. The health and safety team was able to increase operational efficiency and became more agile and flexible in case of staffing changes.
- There was greater visibility into the status of all incidents. Dashboards helped to quickly identify, analyze, and correct hazards and prevent future recurrence.
- The company was able to connect all its locations to the system, enabling employees to continually log important information even from the field. This helped the health and safety team get a thorough and accurate picture of each incident, their status, the corrective action taken, investigation, and prioritization based on data rather than guesswork.
Automation for Streamlining Processes, Increasing Efficiency
Manual systems can be very long-drawn, time-consuming, and prone to errors. Often, identifying trends and patterns and taking corrective and preventive action can be a challenge. Root cause analysis can be difficult to undertake and the ability to respond appropriately and in a timely manner can be severely restricted.
As in the case of Altex, manual processes lack speed, multiple programs don’t speak to one another, making collaboration difficult. The possibility of duplication can further slowdown response times.
With an automated solution such as ComplianceQuest’s EHS solution, the response can be faster, agile and nimble. This comes from the ability to enable data-driven decision making and ease of collaboration. Data rolls up across multiple stakeholders, making it easy to assign “corrective action tasks”. With an integrated risk management and document management solution, it is possible to ensure that all data and information is available at the fingertips of decision makers. With predictive capabilities of ComplianceQuest EHS solution, the company was able to spot “potential hazards” ahead of time, not after an incident happened.
The ComplianceQuest EHS solution also helps with automating the process of issuing a Permit to Work in oil and gas companies. For instance, with CQ EHS solution it is easy to streamline, define and manage the ‘risks’ of working in confined spaces or performing hot work.
Being aligned to OSHA and ISO standards, the ComplianceQuest EHS solution also facilitates compliance to regulatory standards and schedule and manage audits and inspections.
Most importantly, it empowers employees to participate in incident management by providing them with the tools to quickly report not just incidents but also near misses and observations, even from remote locations. This can help prevent them from becoming full-blown incidents. Visibility into the incident lifecycle assures employees of the organization’s commitment to their safety and improves their involvement in making their workplace safer.
An integrated solution also enables safety leaders to identify gaps in skills and capabilities and create training programs to upskill employees, thereby improving their ability to safely handle equipment and tasks. Tracking the completion of the programs, periodic assessments, having a centralized repository of skilled employees to fill in the shoes of absent employees will contribute towards improving the safety in the organization.
To know more about the Incident Management Solution from ComplianceQuest and how it can reduce incident closure in your organization, visit: https://www.compliancequest.com/health-and-safety/?