Safety Concerns During Oil & Gas Industry Downturn along with Changing Times
Are companies continuing to promote safety during a time of such pressure around costs and lean job markets? In three days, there were three different explosions within plants, accident related fires, an accident causing one of the largest explosions in the world to date. Not even bringing up the continued fears in the streets. This is reason for safety concern. Adding fuel to an already burning fire of industrial downturns, comes in many different forms. A time when business leaders should be concerned about every employee’s health and well-being, including mental stress state of mind. (There are “A LOT,”) of other fear factors going on everywhere around the world. As never before having to absorb, i.e. COVID-19concerns, for self, loved ones, schooling, layoffs, overall job marking(s). Hundreds and thousands of jobs have completely been done away with in these times of changing environments.
The oil and gas industry has taken on the greatest downturn so far in its history. This down-turn for many years started before COVID-19 came along; Slowly but surely the oil and gas industry has been going through a down-turnover the past (5-6 years). Staffing themselves within the oil and gas industry with tenure, knows already how the past down turns have progressed. Believing this one no different, yet time and now COVID-19 brings about the worst ever seen in our lifetime. Many complete rigs and other businesses having to shut down, and all other oil and gas industry facilities being highly affected over this, multiple year of continued down turning. Now, management is faced with one of two different ways each individual company leadership may perform in; concerning professional safety performances and awareness. 1) Leadership can allow occupational safety to become lessoned, through reducing safety professional(s). Allowing safety to be placed on the back burner as leadership strives as never before to maintain business operations.
2) Leadership can acknowledge the highest priority of safety needed, knowing that what already is a down industry, does not become an even worse costly and harmful environment. The greatest differences in this down-turn is; each individual employee will be affected in some manner not due to their individual work performance, but what is going on in the world around them. Pressure of individual concerns for their own jobs, may cause individuals to start believing that by taking short cuts and risks, they will complete their work assignments faster; excluding or causing reducing safety out of the entire process.
During these trying times it is very important that the mental state of employee’, leaders, supervisors, and management at all levels, are being continually observed and checked by the safety professionals continued observation(s). Top Leadership Management must now take into account that each day an individual comes into work, their state of mind can be different from the day before due to their own family environmental stresses being placed upon individuals as never before; rather as work related, or none work related. Safety must be the first line of defense during these ever-changing times. There is much more that takes place during these types of down-turns as well; the fact that the employee’ remaining, must pick up greater expansions of work assignments; in areas of their own knowledge. In some other areas not within an individual’s strongest acknowledging of performance; learning along the way and finding themselves with greater stress levels. Customers remain under the very same changing situations as well, contributing to the stress levels of the vendors. Pressure at home come up almost daily if not more; because of the family base, also observing the same types of news being released. Next comes the needed plans for when things begin to return to what many people call normal today. The safety professionals, if no longer available; at the time of these planning risk assessments. This could become an area of operational planning without safety involvement, i.e. returning staffing along with new staffing during a rushed requirement from customers now under the gun as well. “Safety!” Must remain the number one focus, at the highest levels of management at all times. In both the good times and the bad, the up times and the down times. The question remains to be answered, where are you truly at within the safety at your facility (s), throughout this ENTIRE down-turn in so many areas and situations?