Using Established Programs and Processes to Transform HSE Performance

Few leaders can confidently speak to the quality of safety management across all parts of their operations. Even corporations with the most impressive results have areas they are concerned about. The headline numbers (averages actually) don’t capture the outperformance of the safest operations which compensate for areas with a weak safety culture and poor performance. Of course, HSE functional leaders, keenly aware of divergent performance across their operations, have gone to great lengths to identify the poor performers and get them on board with the program. So why, despite all this effort, do many of the world’s leading companies continue to have serious incidents which everyone realises can create devastating impacts on the business and, of course, on those individuals who happen to be present when it all goes wrong?

This paper describes an integrated approach to achieving zero accidents, in which the entirety of an organization’s HSE apparatus is focused on creating a body of front line behaviours consistent with sustained excellence in HSE performance. It sets out how organisational leaders can transform their performance by better harnessing the staggering investment they make in areas such as control of work processes (which often become little more than tick box routines); HSE training (consider the wasted hours in training which yields little behavioural change); and HSE audit (a burden or source of inspiration?) plus time in the field by front line leaders and responses to accidents which fail to create real change. Much, much more can be made of all of these, but only if those involved do something different with them.

The approaches described are applicable to all E&P facilities/construction projects. The application of the approaches described in this paper have been instrumental in delivering 70-80% reductions in incident rates at oil and gas facilities. Despite spending vast amounts of resources on HSE management, the oil and gas sector, including the industry’s most respected operators, continue to experience serious incidents that create devastating impacts on their people, their stockholders and their license to operate. Much more, can and must be made of the resources focused on HSE.


Copyright 2014, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE International Conference on Health, Safety, and Environment held in Long Beach, California, USA, 17–19 March 2014.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.