This is the first in our Safety winners series, in which we will be profiling companies who have been recognized for their excellent safety performance. This week we’re paying a visit to Weatherford Canada Partnership, a major oil and gas service company. In October 2015, Weatherford Canada was awarded Gold in Canada’s Safest Employers Awards (Oil & Gas Category). The award recognizes companies from all across Canada, for their outstanding accomplishments in promoting the health and safety of their workers.

Companies are judged on a wide range of occupational health and safety elements, including:

  • Employee training
  • OHS management systems
  • Incident investigation
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Innovative health and safety initiatives.

The nominees are judged not just on performance and system reviews, but also through employee perception surveys.

We spoke with Wendy Wilson, Weatherford Canada’s director of quality, health, safety, security & environment, to find out more about the award, and what it is that sets Weatherford Canada’s safety performance apart.

Proactive safety using leading indicators

Wendy explained that Weatherford Canada’s safety culture has undergone a complete transformation since 2011. “We have placed a major focus on leading indicators; pro-active measures, which we believe ultimately control lagging indicators. This focus has helped us to achieve improvements in our safety statistics ranging from 70-100 per cent. That includes zero lost time injuries in 2015 and year-to-date in 2016.”

Making everyone responsible for safety

I believe a key aspect of our health and safety programs that make them most effective is ownership/accountability,” said Wendy. “At Weatherford, everyone is accountable. In fact, our health and safety management system is even named GEMS, which stands for “Getting Everyone Managing Safety”.

Wendy explained that there is no single person or manager who is solely responsible for safety. “We’re all in this together,” she said. “In fact, some of our best initiatives/program inclusions have been ideas from individuals or groups of employees who have brought their ideas forward or shared best practice. We also work hard to ensure this translates beyond work and into our employees’ home lives, as well.”

Safety on the front lines

One of the initiatives that has helped make Weatherford’s safety performance so successful, is a program called HSE Excellence. “It’s a grassroots program that identifies natural ‘locker room’ leaders/role models at the front lines of our operations and brings them together to infuse them with the skills and competencies necessary to be HSE champions back in their work environments,” said Wendy. “We give them the skills to help execute personalized improvement plans with their peers. This program has been instrumental in helping us transform our safety culture at Weatherford.”

 Weatherford Canada’s safety culture

What makes Weatherford unique?

When asked what sets Weatherford Canada apart, Wendy answered without hesitation: “Our people. We may be a large company, but we empower our team to create fresh ideas that challenge convention and break the status quo – everyone at Weatherford is empowered to innovate and create new solutions.”

Leading safety culture from the top

While the attitudes and behaviours of frontline employees determine the safety performance in any organization, Wendy explained that the commitment to safety culture comes from the top. “The passion to get safety right is driven by our leadership team,” she said. “Since taking the role of Canadian vice-president in 2011, Dave Reed has worked hard to make safety intrinsic in everything we do at Weatherford and to also ensure that his senior leadership team values safety in the same fashion.”

Stay tuned for more ‘safety winners’ profiles in upcoming weeks. In the meantime check out these other blog posts to learn more about ‘how to lead safety culture from the top’ and ‘how to use leading indicators to build safety’.