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Best Practices for Safety Managers

The oil and gas industry can be a dangerous field for workers and the environment. That’s why employers must institute rigorous safety standards and communicate with employees to ensure those standards are understood and implemented. Safety managers will be more effective if they follow these simple steps.

  • Get everyone involved. Workplace safety is everyone’s responsibility. Make sure that everyone in your hierarchy is aware of your company’s safety requirements, and that they follow them.
  • Keep your meeting topics relevant. Specific sites and equipment require specific safety protocols. Identify the unique safety challenges your workplace environment poses, and develop protocols for their safe handling. Safety discussions should not be limited to equipment. Personal injury can be quite common as well. For instance, you may wish to discuss proper lifting techniques to help avoid back injuries.
  • Poll your employees about the dangers they encounter. They often know best about what and where the dangers are.
  • Do your research. For discussions regarding the use of specific work equipment, consult the manufacturer’s operation manual. For handling toxic substances, get a copy of the Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
  • Engage with your crew. Don’t just lecture during your safety meetings, ask questions. Again, your employees may be your single greatest resource toward finding out where the dangers are.
  • Tap into personal experience. If a specific challenge without a clear response arises during discussions, ask your employees if anyone has had experience dealing with similar matters.
  • Keep it moving. If a crewmember is talking too much, invite someone else to speak.
  • Stay on target. While opening up the meeting to discussion can provide useful dialogue, occasionally conversation can stray too far from the current topic. If this happens, suggest that the new concern(s) be tabled for the next meeting, or set up a time for a private conversation with that employee.
  • Enlist help. Assign a crewmember to assist you or to choose the topics. Take him or her with you when you do your next safety inspection walkthrough. You may also wish to have a crewmember assist with leading the next meeting.
  • Get it in writing. Have employees sign off on safety training materials. Create a safety binder with one-pagers for each safety meeting and have employees sign in each week. This creates a paper trail for meeting attendance to encourage personal responsibility in the workplace.

Regularly scheduled safety meetings can keep your workplace functioning smoothly. By following these steps, you can ensure that your employees recognize that their safety is your highest priority, and they may feel more inclined to approach you with their safety ideas and concerns.

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