Q&A on Offshore Safety

Tuesday, March 21, 2000
MarineNews: How long has your current safety training program been in place? Bruce Adams: The current Schlumberger New Employee Safety Training program (NEST), was developed in 1991. This is a six day, intensive training course covering a variety of mandatory safety topics. In 1992, the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) recognized the program as the best overall training program in the offshore industry and awarded Schlumberger the NOIA "Safety in Seas" award for 1992. MN: How much money is spent annually on the safety program? Adams: The NEST program is part of a much more comprehensive safety effort in Schlumberger. From 1996 to 1998, the amount of money spent on safety by Schlumberger in the US alone increased from $12.4 million to $19.4 million annually. MN: Is the program conducted in-house? Or are the employees sent to an off-site facility? Adams: Both. NEST schools are conducted at Schlumberger facilities throughout the Gulf Coast and at third party facilities in Lafayette, LA. Class size plays a large factor in determining where a session will be held. MN: If in-house, is the program taught by staff members? Or is a third party brought in for instruction? Adams: The majority of NEST instruction is taught by trained Schlumberger personnel. There are several sessions in NEST such as Offshore Survival, Confined Space Entry and Fall Protection which require special facilities/equipment to provide the best level of hands on instruction. These specialized training sessions are taught by third parties. MN: If off-site, which facility do you use? Adams: We are currently partnered with Total Safety in Lafayette, LA. The training professionals of Total Safety provide instruction for several sessions in NEST while providing all training facilities for class sizes up to 30 employees. MN: How often are training program "classes" held? What percentage of the employee base participates at any one time? Adams: The number of NEST sessions held depends on our activity and current level of hiring. During the first half of 2000, we have scheduled 1 session per month. Due to the high level of new employee hiring during the first quarter of 2000, we have held additional sessions to meet this high demand. All new employees who have been hired since the previous NEST session was held will attend. In addition, more experienced employees will attend these training sessions to have their training which has expired be renewed. The average number of attendees at a NEST session varies from 25-40 employees (two-three percent of the employee base in the Gulf Coast). MN: Are the classes mandatory? Are there optional classes for employees interested in getting more training? Adams: All Schlumberger employees are required to attend NEST within the first 90 days of employment. Most employees will attend within their first two-four weeks with the company. All of the training sessions in NEST are mandatory and many require annual refresher training. In addition to these sessions, there are several other mandatory safety training classes which Schlumberger employees attend. A wide variety of optional classes are also available to employees via different forms of media, including classroom instruction, video, CD Rom, and Web based training. MN: What penalties exist for non-compliance to the safety policies, or non-attendance to the sessions? Adams: Should an incident of non-compliance occur, location management along with the location Loss Prevention Team (LPT), will review the incident to determine the root cause and develop an action plan to prevent reoccurrence. Schlumberger disciplinary procedure guidelines will be followed in cases where the investigation determines that disciplinary action may be necessary. Schlumberger employees monitor the status of their training utilizing a Safety Passport. The Passport records training sessions the employee has attended, participation in safety activities, active involvement on teams such as the LPT, and special safety recognition. Based upon the validity dates recorded in the Passport, each employee is responsible for scheduling attendance at safety classes when they are due for an update. Each individual has an annual performance objective to ensure all required safety training is current. Failure to attend scheduled training sessions would result in an individual being unable to achieve this performance goal. MN: What steps are taken to ensure the policies and skills learned in training are kept up during the workday? Are there random checks? Weekly meetings? Adams: Each facility conducts a program of regular safety meetings which are led by management and the LPT. In addition, daily safety meetings are conducted at the job site and a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) is completed on each operation performed. Each Schlumberger employee is taught to observe the actions of others and to shut down any operation deemed unsafe until corrective action is taken. In addition, a detailed audit program is used to evaluate facilities, management systems and job sites. These audits are conducted by all levels of management to ensure safety policies and standard operating procedures are being followed. MN: What does your training program currently entail? What courses and skills are taught and why? Adams: NEST is a six day course which includes instruction in the following areas: · Schlumberger HSE Management System and Passport · First Aid/CPR · Hazardous Materials Identification and Transportation · Blood Borne Pathogens · Risk Identification and Reporting · Prevention of Stepping, Handling and Lifting Injuries · Confined Space Entry · Lockout/Tagout · Defensive Driving (The Five Seeing Habits ? Schlumberger Program) · Intersection Safety · Journey Management · Managing a 24 hours Lifestyle · Environmental Awareness · Hearing Conservation · Fall Protection · Crane/Rigger Awareness · Radiation and Explosives Safety · Offshore Water Survival · Fire Safety · Personal Protective Equipment · Drug & Alcohol Content of NEST was determined based on mandated regulatory requirements and risk/hazard identifications within Schlumberger which have identified our greatest risks (including driving and Stepping, Handling and Lifting incidents). In addition, all employees attend driver training at our professional driving center of excellence in Kellyville, Oklahoma. Class length varies from 3-11 days depending on the type of vehicle an individual will drive. As mentioned earlier, in addition to NEST and Driver Training, Schlumberger offers a wide variety of additional Safety and Environmental courses at various training centers and operating locations throughout the US. MN: Are there changes planned for your program in the next 1-5 years? New courses or skills added, or dropped? Adams: The Schlumberger safety program and the training it entails, including NEST, is continuously updated and modified based upon identified risks, regulatory requirements, and the needs of our employees. There is no doubt the structure of NEST in two years will vary from that of the NEST of today. MN: How has your company's operations changed (for better or worse) as a result of a safety program? Adams: The list of significant benefits of a world class safety program is quite extensive. Over the past three years these benefits to Schlumberger in the Gulf Coast include: · A Driving Incident rate 1/5 national average · 27 percent reduction in Worker's Comp expenditures over 3 years (97/98-7.2MM, 98/99-6.5MM, 99/00-5.3MM) · 26 percent reduction in Total Recordable Incident Rate in 1999 · 75 percent reduction in Lost Work Day injuries in Gulf Coast · 48 percent reduction is Stepping, Handling and Lifting related incidents, 99 vs. 98 (Gulf Coast) · Increase in proactive measures (risk reports, training, audits, field visits) · Recognition from Major customers for safety excellence among large contractors In the end, the benefits of a safety program can be summed up simply by stating, "good HSE practices make good business sense." Bruce Adams is the QHSE manager for Schlumberger Oilfield Services.
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