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Today’s multicultural rig crews demand understanding, respect

Posted on 25 March 2010

Understanding and respect were the main themes highlighted during a panel session at the 2010 IADC Drilling HSE Asia Pacific Conference & Exhibition, 24 March in Singapore, moderated by John Karish, Ensco International.

Tran Bac Ha, senior HSE officer of Vietnam’s Hoang Long and Hoan Vu Joint Operating Companies, kicked off her presentation and the session by posing this question: “Does our industry treat all cultures the same?”

“I think there are a lot of people who try to do so, but the way of many operators and contractors are not the same,” she said, noting that many companies’ implementation approaches are not consistent around the world. Why?

Since pictures are worth a thousand words, Ms Ha provided several photos showing examples of day-to-day HSE culture in her native country of Vietnam.

“My reason here is just to tell you that we still face this kind of challenge in Vietnam. It’s a long way to go,” she said. Some of the tools currently being used in Vietnam to promote HSE culture in what she described as an “immature” safety environment are: annual HSE plans; HSE meetings with contractors, governments and oil & gas companies; daily QAQC inspections; HSE audits, awards and competitions.

The next panelist, Darrell Howard, VP technical support, Vico Indonesia, used his presentation to share a toolbox for HSE delivery, where the first tool is passion.

“It’s so fundamental that we convey our passion, our thoughts, our beliefs in an emotional way to people we’re trying to change,” he said. “Can you change people’s behaviors without passion? I would argue you can’t.”

Recognizing linguistic and background diversities are also immensely beneficial. For an employee who goes to work where there are strict HSE rules and he follows them by wearing all the required PPE, will he exhibit the same safety behavior when he leaves the job site? “Where is the center of gravity in that person’s safety behavior? A lot of that is driven by years, not days or months, but years and maybe decades of the way they live life,” Mr Howard said.

Family is another great HSE tool, he said. “I have a 10-year-old son, and he forms the basis of many of my HSE conversations.”

“I would suggest that whenever you’re talking to people, trying to change their behaviors, that you use the family tool … because people can generally relate to that very clearly.” Questions that can be asked: Do you want to see your family again? Do you want your family to be safe? Do you want to be able to go home?

Other tools in Mr Howard’s HSE toolbox include personalizing HSE messages; having a single clear standard for HSE delivery; making sure your words and actions align; embracing different cultural norms; and helping people really understand why HSE is important.

Tim Callais, HSE director, Scorpion Offshore, emphasized that his company’s philosophy for HSEQ success lies in this motto: “It’s all about the people, always has been, always will be.” That doesn’t mean “What’s in it for me?”

“When we’re talking about people, we’re talking about all people, we’re talking about every cultural background, of every experience level,” he said.

Mr Callais continued by emphasizing that when Scorpion was first established, the company decided that “respect” must be the one thing it has to get right from the beginning. Moreover, they had to recognize that respect doesn’t happen by chance; it happens by design. “You have to design a plan for it and execute that plan in order for it to happen,” he said.

Along with having a culture of respect, Scorpion also ensured HSEQ in multicultural areas of operation by: getting to know labor providers’ values and philosophies; holding meeting(s) with rig-based management to set expectations and discuss cultures; hold start-up meetings in country of operation with all crews together; and ensuring that all materials and company information are available in all appropriate languages.

1 Comments For This Post

  1. rick thomas Says:

    yes thay need equity and resepet to climb the lader of leadership and be aloud to be heard and ppl should also should try to learn work togather , and will to learn .

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