We’re pretty excited that the PSC has reached its 65th year, so this week we thought we’d revisit the early days. Here’s a quick look back:
Oil and gas in Western Canada
The petroleum industry has changed a lot since Henry Kelsey first discovered oil in Western Canada in 1719. Back then, oil and gas was a very dangerous career choice – in fact, injuries and death were considered an unavoidable part of conducting business. Thank goodness those days are long gone!
In fact, it wasn’t until 1951 that the concept of safety within the oil and gas industry really took hold, with the first annual Safety Clinic; which later became the Petroleum Industry Safety Seminar and eventually the Petroleum Safety Conference.
In those early days, the Safety Clinic was organized and run as a collaboration between several industry associations as well as the Energy Board and Occupational Health & Safety. The format was much the same as today’s conference, but the event also featured a town hall meeting, where heated conversation was the order of the day! That meeting was phased out as the event grew and time became more of an issue.
“It was great that the industry came together like that. In fact I don’t think any other industry in the province came together with regulators in that way, to sit down and say ‘what can we do for the betterment of all?’”, said Brock Brown, co-owner and principal consultant at Integrity Consulting, who was a long-term PSC committee member.
The first conference was held at the Banff Springs Hotel, and over the years it has outgrown several venues; today’s beautiful location at the Banff Centre provides the perfect combination of accommodation, trade show space and theatre space.
A safety conference to fit the times
“The need for the conference has changed”, said Brock, “because if you don’t have a safety program, and if you don’t have a good one, you can’t even do business in the industry.”
So unlike the early days, today the value in the conference comes in providing a regular venue for industry members to network, to learn about new safety ideas and theories, and to find out about new innovations. But Brock believes the conference has another purpose:
“I think there’s an opportunity for the conference to play a role in helping other nations and other industries with their safety performance, because we really have done some world-leading stuff in our industry.”
Registration for this year’s conference is now open – check out the line-up of speakers we have coming. And in the meantime, you can check out materials and presentations from previous years’ conferences in our PSC archives.