Thursday, October 3, 2013

ExxonMobil Creates Safety Leaders at ASSE's Upcoming Symposium

In January 2012, ExxonMobil Upstream Cos. implemented a new safety measure developed and used by ExxonMobil’s Development Co. Drilling Organization since 2006. The approach incorporates concepts from traditional methodology with a new twist, focusing on a hurt-free workplace.

The hurt-free approach, a session topic in ASSE’s upcoming Fatality and Severe Loss Prevention Symposium taught by Michael Smith, safety advisor at ExxonMobil Development Co. in Houston, TX, addresses the importance of analyzing and prioritizing all incidents and creating safety leaders both on and off the job.

ExxonMobil developed this approach to boost employee morale, after learning that its workforce felt undervalued, Smith says. Despite having record-setting performance on the job site, ExxonMobil leaders felt it was important for workers to understand that safety was about more than numbers and recordablity. Wanting to engage the workforce and make employees feel more appreciated, the company decided to step away from numbers and recordablity as a primary focal point, and made the move from a treatment-based approach to the hurt-free approach.

While the traditional methodology is still used as a secondary administrative reporting metric, the hurt-free approach offers an alternative solution focusing on three key components:

  1. Emphasize safety leaders.

    ExxonMobil strives to treat every injury as if it were the injury of a loved one. Much like a mother would protect her child and learn from every injury, company leaders aim to learn from every incident through investigation and analyses to prevent that incident from recurring. These learnings are spread widely among the workforce both on and offsite, and have helped workers develop a more positive attitude.

    In addition to spreading information, the team is dedicated to encourage the workers to be safe both on and off the job. In addition to applying safe practices on the job, workers are asked how they use what they have learned on the weekend or holidays, Smith says, further instilling the idea that safety is important 24/7/356.

    “It is not just the safety professionals who are responsible and accountable for safety leadership,” Smith says. “Every employee, every contractor must be a safety leader and this goes well beyond the safety department. Safety professionals are there to provide professional expertise and consistency of the methodology but we rely on every member of the workforce being a safety leader and we encourage that they’re not just safety leaders on the job but off the job as well.”
  2. Analyzing the physical damage.
    The hurt-free approach measures the severity of the injury or illness based on physical body damage. While some traditional methods of measuring injury can be subjective, including medical treatment incidents, restrictive work incidents, loss-time incidents, says Smith, the hurt-free approach will describe the injuries and illness by actual severity rather than the treatment received.
  3. Focusing on potential consequences.
    Finally, the hurt-free approach looks at potential consequence. Rather than taking an incident at face value, ExxonMobil leaders review the incident and the potential consequences or the potential harm an incident could have caused. For example, an incident that resulted in no injury, based on the hazards in place, could have killed one or more people, Smith explains. This would be flagged as high-consequential potential incident, which would result in corrective action.

    As Smith explains, incidents classified as high-consequential potential incidents are given priority attention. Looking for potential consequences of an incidents during the investigational stage helps the company prioritize initiative to create a safer workplace in the future.
For more on the Hurt-Free Approach to Safety, look for Smith’s presentation at ASSE’s Avoiding the Worst: Fatality and Severe Loss Prevention Symposium.