As the oil and gas industry expands throughout the world, the health, safety and environmental aspects of the industry face emerging governments and changing cultures. Within these varying landscapes, the industry often becomes engulfed in societies with varying levels of participation and support of the occupational health, safety and environmental spectrum. Within each country, oil and gas companies must consider the people, their cultures, beliefs and language, all without infringing upon the regulations and laws already developed in these nations. Using standards developed by governments, the oil and gas industry has the opportunity and the resources to continue this growth without experiencing accidents and environmental degradation common in developing regions.
The world is becoming increasingly industrialized and the working class is faced with rising dangers in the workplace as a result. The oil and gas industry is no exception, its employees
Injuries/illnesses/fatalities and environmental concerns are dealt with daily within the workplace. Employees must continuously make the right choices in regards to their safety and the environmental impact of their actions.
1.1 WHY SAFETY CULTURE?
Safety is a ubiquitous concept. In some industries, such as commercial aviation, safety is so embedded into the organization that it can be difficult to see just what the general concept of safety means. Most people see safety as concerned primarily with the personal well-being of stakeholders, which mean all those involved, not just the immediate actors and owners. Some also add the integrity of the business and its assets. While these are necessary preconditions, safety and more specifically safety management, in a more active way is the creation of a safe environment as allowing dangerous activities to take place successfully, which means without harm or damage. What this means is that safety is more than a passive and well-meaning notion, such as “Thou shall do no harm”. Instead safety is something that has to be actively managed to allow profit or advantage to be gained. The oil and gas industry is one that is naturally dangerous 1
– fire and explosion are natural hazards of the product, mass and power inherent in the means of production. Even an apparently sedentary occupation, such as banking, involves risk and the potential for massive loss. Those organizations that manage their risks best are in place to make the most profit. Those that do not manage so well are either perceived as dangerous or are forced to scale down their operations to achieve acceptable levels of safety.
What has safety culture to do with this? The answer is that there are a number of ways of achieving high levels of safety. These range from having a systematic and highly controlled prescription of all activities in order to exclude the possibility of hazards ever becoming loose, to creating an organizational culture within which everyone is personally involved in ensuring the safety of all concerned. The term safety culture can be applied to both, but they clearly represent quite different cultures. What has become clear is that there is a natural and evolutionary progression of cultures, and that the end-point of this progression is what we call a true Safety Culture. What has also become clear more recently is that, while the road to achieving this ideal state is not an easy one, the benefits to be gained most certainly outweigh the costs of attaining it. In particular there are advantages to be had from actually reducing the time, and especially paperwork, devoted to safety. The reason for this is that much of what takes place in managing safety in earlier stages is the direct result of a failure of trust and a lack of confidence. These shortcomings lead to over-management and, accordingly, more hard work than is necessary....
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