UNDERSTANDING THE OIL & GAS INDUSTRY OBSESSION WITH SAFETY

While SAFETY can be defined as the condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury and SECURITY is the state of being free from danger or threat are sometimes used interchangeably to mean the same thing in Nigeria some others have posited that safety should be seen as an applicable context of work environment while Security is applicable in the larger living community, society or environment. Additionally Safety could be contextualized as applicable in conditions when situations that could lead to unsafe situations can be controlled and managed by yourself and colleagues in a work environment whereas Security can be controlled and managed with the help of external agents as it were. The level of safety implementation in an environment therefore is a function of the risks that abound thereof.

In Nigeria for instance second and third parties relating with oil and gas entities for a first time find it difficult to understand the unrelenting obsession that the oil and gas entities advocate and practice without let and the entities themselves can’t understand why second and third parties don’t get it initially and even when they have experienced it, find it difficult to make it a habit.

The answer can be found in the larger society and can even be traced to our culture and or even our religions. The underlying principles could not be so far part as whereas SAFETY requires proactive and creative anticipation of risk factors and how to mitigate and manage them, our cultures and religious beliefs tend to suggest that what will happen will happen and if and when they happen we will deal with it as best we could as usually aptly captured as’ we will cross the bridge when we get there’

As can be imagined Oil and Gas entities investments are huge and substantial and some accidents could be devastating resulting in injuries, fatalities, substantial losses and litigations which all combined could wipe out an entity and even complete loss of investments. So second and third parties should understand why oil and gas entities obsess about SAFETY as they would do the same if they were wearing the shoes.

Safety practice outside of Oil and Gas environments remains poorly appreciated mainly because of the absence of a regulatory framework that guide and enforce the implementation of safety practice in other work environments even as they witness injuries, fatalities, damages etc. from non-compliance with best practice safety implementation. Nobody or parties suffer sanctions from non- compliances that result in injuries, accidents, fatalities and damages and therefore safety concerns continue to be paid lip service if not even treated with complete disdain.

Also planning for safety in the oil and gas environment is a very elaborate process almost as elaborate as the oil drilling itself using the PDCA framework (Plan-Do-Check-Act) which is a 16 dimension deliberate framework which external parties are unfamiliar with and even if they were they will find it very difficult to rationalize why a one day task for instance would be required to be planned so elaborately in three to four days which they consider a waste of ‘valuable’ time.

For a discerning observer this safety obsession and practice in the Oil and Gas industry is a major plank of the sustainability of the oil and gas industry, the reason why it is miles apart from the others in terms of developments, innovations and a substantial contributor to the Nigerian GDP.

In closing if the larger society and indeed other industries in Nigeria desire to witness sustainable development, innovation and creativity they must begin to copy the Oil and Gas industry safety practice as it has been proven to not only protect and keep their employees but also their investments which continue to deliver planned shareholder values.

EMPLOYEES WHO WORK IN SAFE ENVIRONMENTS FEEL TREASURED & TREASURED EMPLOYEES ACHIEVE PLANNED PRODUCTIVITIES WHICH POSITIVELY AFFECT THE BOTTOMLINE!

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