What happens to safety training during an economic downturn, when oil companies are cutting operations and costs?

We spoke with Cameron MacGillivray, Enform’s president and CEO, to find out if there is any tendency for companies to cut training under these market conditions.

According to Cameron, prudent operators often use such an opportunity to increase, rather than decrease their training. In this clip he explains how a lull in activity can present an opportunity to train your best workers in preparation for busier times:

Cameron McGillivray, Enform CEO“There may be some situations where a cut in training is warranted,” said Cameron. “There are two factors at play here. First, you might have fewer workers to train, and secondly, if there is some uncertainty around whether projects will proceed or not, it does make sense to defer training until they are confirmed.”

“However,” he continued, “we have learned from past experience that once again prices will strengthen from their current levels and result in accelerated activity and a growing demand for skilled workers well trained in safe work practices.”

You can hear more from him on that topic in this audio clip:

How to make the best use of your safety training budget

If you’re looking for ways to trim your budget without compromising your training activities, outsourcing your in-house programs to Enform could be an effective solution. “We do a lot of training for companies under a custom training arrangement, and we can often do it much more cost-effectively than individual companies can do it themselves,” explained Cameron. This is how we’re working together toward zero incidents.

You can learn more about the training and resources available from Enform in this blog post titled ‘How Enform can help you avoid workplace incidents’.

Stay tuned, in upcoming weeks we’ll be hearing from Cameron on the difference between personal safety and process safety.

  • Paul Brent

    Now is the time!

    I see many changes happening in the industry around the training concepts and application of on site practices. Take advantage of an opportunity to regroup. Employers would be wise to invest in the next generation of highly skilled individuals entering our workforce. As a veteran training provider I am excited to be a part of a movement to help protect the future force of our team and grow our industry leaders and our global professionals.

    Too many Incidents are still happening where workers have pockets full of tickets. Many workers MUST have some specific tickets as required by law. With the proper training to meet all these requirements, the active task performer continues to feel a dilemma: As Repeatedly stated by students in class discussions, “If we followed all the rules and policies they have in place at the sites, we would never get anything done. No time, and the cost is of all the manpower and training to qualify workers to specific requirements and equipment would never be covered and then we wont be working. Too high of a cost to bring the policies specified by the sites and employers to fruition.”

    We seem to have some time to discuss things now.

    Every bid is trying to be as low as possible, and may not fully have incorporated the cost of site specific time needed to apply the new policy or complete orientation training, Leading a trend should be the company willing apply all the necessary prevention procedures should be rewarded, however, the cost difference may not receive the contract, Yet, the increase in cost is directly due to the time it takes for implementation of the safety requirement brought in by the site or legislation and is not the cost of the task. Contractors can not recoup some of these costs and this indirectly effects the safety performance of the individuals on site.

    Maybe we should talk about this, we have time.

    Following my 2 presentations at the 2013 Oil and Gas Expo, where I presented on the concepts of the Safety Culture and The Value of Life, I have witnessed the impact of the inception. There was a student who paraphrased the points as he had heard from one of their own upper management who attended the presentation, now, spoken back into the classroom. The front line is becoming aware that this is a time when employers can pick employees who are willing to embrace the change toward the new culture and attitudes suited to the team framework prevention based proactive thinking. The ability to eliminate some of the unspoken hazards of those who don’t believe in the training but see it as a money grab and a waste of time. This change of culture and attitude was recently a focus at the Enform conference as well and is now main stream, not just upstream conversation. The concepts weigh the cost of task performance and potential of taking risk for profit and the loss caused by incident and opening conversation channels to help the team mitigate hazards and not just do things the way they have always been done. Everything is changing. It’s about time.

    Front line employees are comprehending the differentiation between minimal training generic tickets and the right to ensure they can have access to programs which they feel complete their safety programs requirements. As a result, some provincial bills are even being challenged to allow these changes to occur. They also know and are understanding the follow up training and site specific required training after completion of a basic program from the employer. This now having employers to provided equipment and any specific equipment practice on the site provided gear or validation of equipment presence and competency of workers entering these sites utilizing their own equipment. Time to properly prepare for the day of work on site, rescue practices and such. Some contract employers are not prepared. I work for you, you have an obligation. Can we talk about this, now could be a good time.

    This new empowerment will be significant. The workers are understanding due diligence and accountability, Employers are enforcing policies to protect their liabilities and the circle goes on. It takes time to implement change and there is a cost involved. Now is a good time.

    The common goal of all the training, besides the mirrored legislation technical knowledge, is to deliver the information in a way that will motivate the workers to get more involved in the actual training on specific equipment and the application of prevention concepts, not simply have tickets to meet the requirements of the legislation, They strive to prevent injury and death via application of the knowledge. It is even better when we can encourage them to teach each other best practices and become willing to even entertain the discussion of change, not just to get the job done.

    Perhaps we should spend some focus on communication training for everyone as much as we invest in the other materials. If workers cannot communicate with each other, we can effect change or provide support. A great time to start the discussion is when you don’t have to have everyone running out the door.

    I too encourage companies to take advantage of this opportunity. Regroup do some prevention Team building, Help get them talking and understanding each other with Communication training, Motivation and personal strengths programs can help create a positive environment where great things can happen.

    There is a destructive underlying hazard where some still believe in “common sense” thinking and prevention concepts are taking that away. Truth is common sense is not so common and that would be understood if we could communicate better. We all need to work towards the betterment of the “common good” for all.
    I mean, it makes sense to me.. if it doesn’t to you, maybe we don’t have the same common sense!

    Now do we have time to have that talk?

    Paul Brent
    B.E.S.T. (Brent Enterprises Specialty Training)
    Paul Brent Enterprises Ltd

    • Wendy Zak

      Thanks for weighing in, Paul. You make some very good points, and it’s definitely something for employers to consider.

    • http://www.enform.ca/ Enform Safety

      Thanks for weighing in, Paul. You make some very good points, and it’s definitely something for employers to consider.