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Topic 18: THE PERCEIVED CONFLICT BETWEEN SAFETY AND PRODUCTION

ASOKHIA BENJAMIN MUYIWA's picture

Discussions are welcome on: "THE PERCEIVED CONFLICT BETWEEN SAFETY AND PRODUCTION"

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oseghale lucas okohue's picture

This is a very important discussion that should not be taken for granted. There is a huge relationship between safety and production. Most company holders are practically interested in staying ahead of their competitors and making huge turn over, this is often seen in shift from safety of personnel and environment to a more profit oriented goal setting.  The field of safety and reliability are concerned with the study of a particular class of event i.e. accident and failure, and how to implement a proactive approach to prevent this accident from occurring while production focus on the profit margin. I.e. how much is produced per day and the overall company turn over. This two key point i.e. safety and production, is very important for the overall success of the company and should be balance at all point. hazards or risk as regards to safety of personals, equipment or environs   while producing should be reduced as reasonably practice in a work environs by planning, implementing and continuous update of the integrity  management program of each production systems. In conclusion, production rate is very essential to the company as it keeps the company on the front line of its competitors but safety while producing should not be undermine because it guarantees the continuity and sustainability of that produced output over time.

c.ejimuda's picture

I am in agreement with Lucas; there should be a balance between the safety of personnel, operating environment and equipment while producing and keeping up with set production targets. This is clearly seen as history keeps repeating itself. Taking a close look at the Flixborough Nypro plant disaster of 1974, the main cause was modification of the cyclohexane plant by unskilled maintenance staff, all for increase in company production and overall profit and not mining the safety of the personnel, equipment and environment.

 The end result was catastrophic. 

Learning from history, Company should balance safety in work environment while producing and meeting up with production targets as this is the only key to sustainability.

Also, Company should endeavour to carry out a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) using QRA techniques to ensure that there is further reduction of risk to ALARP level especially when engineering judgement fails. 

 

ReferenceFire and Blast Information Group (2012) Flixborough, UK 2012 [Online]. Available at http://www.fabig.com/accidents [accessed 10 October 2012]

 

Chukwumaijem M Ejimuda MSC Safety and Reliability Engineering.

ASOKHIA BENJAMIN MUYIWA's picture

Over the years in almost every industry involving production of
any sort, where safety regulations, procedures and processes have to be
followed, there has been a perceived conflict between safety and production.

The energy sector is no exception to the growth of this
perception. Considerable amounts of accidents have occurred which could have
been averted by sometimes very simple safety checks and routines.

Many a times, safety processes, checks, routines and necessary
service requirements may involve a need to shut down production temporarily to
be done. The financial and work hour losses of such periods have usually
propelled a reluctance to carry out such safety operations.

This perception has largely fuelled an ad hoc attention to safety
requirements. Thereby making short term oriented decisions so as either to
avoid a shutdown of production or reduce the length of time required for
necessary safety processes.

This perceived conflict between safety and production, poses a
very great risk to the industry if not the greatest!

 

ASOKHIA BENJAMIN

51228516

 SUBSEA ENGINEERING 

ASOKHIA BENJAMIN MUYIWA's picture

This is arguably true as the
management teams of organizations call the shorts and have more stakes in
ensuring sustained and uninterrupted production.

Under the goal setting legislative
regime which is less prescriptive, it is common to have management pay only
fire brigade attention to safety issues that could affect production
immediately, especially where there are short term alternatives.

In recent years, top management of
most organizations have mostly being reduced to business oriented executives
who have little or no knowledge on the implications and technical details of
the running of the industry. This has placed focus on production and more
production at the expense of safety necessities.

Also proving the culpability of most
organizational management in this perception is the tendency at times to rush
and overlook safety precautions in the setup of new plants and production
facilities. This in most cases has resulted in either immediate accidents or
future detection of installation or design errors which would have been
corrected if proper risk analysis and assessment had been carried out.

 

ASOKHIA BENJAMIN

51228516

SUBSEA ENGINEERING 

ASOKHIA BENJAMIN MUYIWA's picture

To guarantee continual production in
the long term, safety must not in any way be seen to be at conflict with
production. Safety procedures and routines must be seen as a compulsory tool
for day to day production and operations.

This is because:

1.       Most
production installations would have capacity drop as they begin to age. These drops
can only be reduced if necessary safety routines and processes are carried out
from time to time.

2.       There is a
chance to avoid accidents and other occurrences that may result in partial or
total shut down of production for long periods, loss of asset and income,
fatalities etc which cost more on the long run than engaging safety
requirements.

3.       Organizations
are saved reputation damage, fines, Litigation and even share price drop that all
could result when accidents or occurrences happen due to failure to heed safety
precautionary measures.

 

ASOKHIA BENJAMIN

51228516

SUBSEA ENGINEERING 

ASOKHIA BENJAMIN MUYIWA's picture

Many major accidents have resulted due
to the management of organization’s refusal to heed to necessary safety
warnings, procedures and indicators.

Two major accidents of interest are:

1.       PETROBRAS
P36 PLATFORM

On completion and commissioning of the
Petrobras’s P36 platform, the CEO had made a very robust speech on how cost
cutting and speedy the fabrication process had been. Particularly credited to
him was saying: “the project successfully rejected the established constricting
and negative influences of prescriptive engineering, onerous quality requirements,
and outdated concepts of inspection and client control. Elimination of these
unnecessary straitjackets has empowered the project's suppliers and contractors
to propose highly economical solutions, with the win-win bonus of enhanced profitability
margins for themselves”.

 

Interestingly, just about 24 hours
later, the platform had begin to sink. Few hours later, it had totally sunk!

 

2.      
THE PIPER ALPHA

Occidental Petroleum; operators of the
Piper Alpha had the motto “Keep it Flowing”! Investigations into the Piper
Alpha disaster revealed the company had kept oil flowing at the expense of several
safety requirements.

Occident Petroleum management’s
culpability in the accident was established in different dimensions. Including
poor design decisions without consideration of safety, poor production and
expansion decisions focused only on ability to “Keep it flowing” whether safely
or not, ineffective personnel management and training on safety requirements,
little or no inspections, maintenance or correction of detected problems with
several systems already failed.

 

Over all, the company management
appeared to see safety as an unwanted excess baggage to impede production.

 

The Hon. Lord Cullen’s investigation had
further revealed the company had ignored a warning from Elmslie Consultancy
services that continual high pressure could have a very devastating effect on
the platform and its personnel if not attended to (Pgs 227-229 of report).

 

Other accidents where management had
refused to yield to safety demands include: The Fukushima, BP’s Macondo Deepwater Horizon,
ONGC Mumbai High North Accident and several others.

 

 

REFERENCES:

1.      
School of Engineering, University of Aberdeen –
Subsea Integrity MSc. Lecture Slide 2012

2.      
M. Elizabeth Pate-Cornell (Oct 22, 1992)-
Learning from the Piper Alpha Accident: A Postmortem Analysis of Technical and
Organizational Factors.

3.      
www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/security-watch/Articles/Detail/?lng=en&1d=152209

4.      
National Academy of Engineering Report on The Macondo Deepwater Horizon.

5.      
The US Chemical Safety Board Report on Macondo Deepwater Horizon (24th July 2012)

6.      
President Obama’s Independent Oil Spill
Commission Report on BP’s Macondo Deep water Horizon. (January 2011)

 

ASOKHIA
BENJAMIN

51228516

SUBSEA
ENGINEERING 

Ikechukwu Onyegiri's picture

I agree with
the post by Lucas though I'll approach this question from a broader
perspective. Though safety remains a striving issue in the industrial
operations, the demand and supply forces need to be put into check. Using the
oil and gas sector as a case study, companies only seek to optimise production
not only for profit purposes but to meet the demanding energy uprise around the
globe.

Introduction
of new technologies has seen to meet this uprise but with challenging safety
concerns. Novel technologies come with their fair bit of safety issues and with
the decline in energy supply worldwide a balance will have to be struck between
revolutionising the industry amidst the safety concerns if the world is to keep
up with the demand. For example, despite the various accidents and withdrawal
involved in the nuclear power industry, most countries can't still stop
production because a greater fear awaits them which is not being able to supply
the demanded energy.

As stated by
Wagenaar et al.(1993) safety is crucial in oil and gas industry operations but
one will wonder the amount of pressure mounted on the industry to create and
innovate safer methods amidst meeting the demands of the globe. With the
advancement of deeper water exploration, safety factors become more difficult
to comprehend due to the complexity of operations (Wendler et Scott, 2012) and
as such one can only hope that production companies would strike a proper
balance between economics, safety and environmental considerations to leverage
the greed that comes from the pressure of energy demand and competition.

References

W. A.
Wagenaar, J. Groeneweg, P. T. W. Hudson & J. T. Reason: Promoting safety in
the oil industry. The Ergonomics Society Lecture Presented at the Ergonomics
Society Annual Conference, Edinburgh, 13-16 April 1993

C.
Wendler, M. Scott, Halliburton Testing and Perforating in the HPHT Deep and
Ultradeep Water Environment

Ikechukwu Onyegiri , 51126081, Msc O&G Engineering

ASOKHIA BENJAMIN MUYIWA's picture

 

AFTER EFFECTS OF ACCIDENTS WITH SAFETY
PERCEIVED BEING AT CONFLICT WITH PRODUCTION. 

 

Several past incidences and accidents
where safety had being perceived to be at conflict with production have
resulted in:

 

1.      
LEGISLATION: stiffer legislations dictating
punishments of forms including jail sentences to members of top management in
many countries. The introduction of legislations of this sort has resulted in a
seeming buckle up on safety in many organizations. This has systematically
introduced the situation in the 1980’s where organizations had an office of a
Chief Engineer who directly supervised the technical operations of the
organization.

 

2.      
HUGE LOSSES: Organizations have lost entire
platforms, vessels, complete production installations and other assets worth
huge fortunes to such accidents. Some have led to a complete close down of some
organizations temporarily or even permanently. These accidents could arguably
have been averted or have effect reduced if safety had been given necessary
attention.

 

3.      
FATALITIES: families and friends of personnel
who have died in such accidents have been plunged into the misery of very deep
and possibly avoidable losses.

 

 

REFERENCES:

1.      
School of Engineering, University of Aberdeen
– Subsea Integrity MSc Lecture Slide 2012.

 

 

 

ASOKHIA
BENJAMIN

51228516

SUBSEA
ENGINEERING 

ASOKHIA BENJAMIN MUYIWA's picture

From all the forgoing issues discussed,
safety in every organization should be seen as a necessary tool and machinery
for sustained production. Personnel on and off production facilities should
always be reminded that production would only be sustained if the system is
protected and preserved

 

Safety procedures, routines and
processes should be seen as a very compulsory and necessary production
protection, preservation and sustainability tool. This culture of thought
should be driven right from top management to the least cadre of personnel.

 

It is also recommended that organizations
be compelled by direct legislation to have core technical and safety personnel on
the core management team to at least top three of organizational management.
This is so as to ensure issues of safety are given prompt attention, thereby
shifting attention from making production continue at any cost. This is
advocated remembering that with age of most production facilities comes a need
for very technically alert management.

 

 

ASOKHIA
BENJAMIN

51228516

SUBSEA
ENGINEERING 

Claire Snodgrass's picture

Lucas starts this thread with a very important point, but perhaps the drivers for maximising production should be considered a little more.

In a mature region such as the North Sea, operators are not really in competition with each other.  Each has their licensed areas and can extract all the hydrocarbons from their fields without fear that some other company will come along and beat them to it.

Furthermore, although there is one operator and it's their name on the installation, there are often multiple partners - other oil companies - in a field. For example, many Shell developments (such as the Brent field) are 50% owned by ExxonMobil, and the BP-operated Clair field west of Shetland has 5 other partners including Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell (DECC, 2011).   In these cases the companies are business partners not rivals.

Most oil companies want to increase production to satisfy their shareholders.  The senior management will set production targets in order to maximise profit and consequently the return to their shareholders.  But is the offshore worker, or even the engineer back on the beach, thinking about the shareholders?  I doubt it.

But those production targets set by chiefs of the company will filter down through the organisation so it may well be that the offshore workers and the onshore staff that support them will receive a bonus if their installation or region achieves its production targets. 

I'd like to believe that those individuals will not put production ahead of safety for the sake of a few hundred or even thousand pounds bonus. However, though they may not actively see the decisions they make in those terms (production, i.e. bonus, or safety), there could be a subconscious influence of rewarding production.

Reference: DECC (2011). DECC Field Partners. Available at http://og.decc.gov.uk/assets/og/data-maps/field_partners.txt
[Accessed 10 October 2012]

michael saiki's picture

Just to furhter evaluate the contrast. The present legislation regime that we have says that employers should ALARP(As Low As Reasonably practicable) apply safety to their operations.

What the law did not say is that if an operation is not safe people should not be involved, but that the risks should be minimized.

Also the law did not say safety is more important than profit especially with the safety case, which ays the employer should develop his safety model himself.

If an organisation than is built first to serve the objective of her shareholders sees a safety issue that seeks to disrupt that goal which is most likely Profit making. You guess which side she would take

Therefore safety and production(profit) will always be contrasting issues in the industry

 Michael Safety

Elvis.E.Osung's picture

@ Michael, The conflict is caused by trying to manage a situation technically with the aim of reducing the safety risks while production is on going. the duty holders has the responsibility by law to ensure  risk is reduced as low as reasonably practicable but when effort to reduce this risk is not yielding desired result, a shut dun is inevitable like the GOM case. The unwritten first law of production is keeping the oil flowing. All efforts are usually put in place to ensure that production does not stop for a second. Besides the economic losses associated with production shutdown, there are other technical considerations. shutting down a production facility without appropriate chemical injection leads to hydrate formation clogging communication lines and pipelines. The processes involved in bringing back a shot down facility to start producing is quite laborious, technically tasking,costly and time consuming depending on a lot of factors like the environment of the facility, the duration of shutdown amongst others . So Operators would rather try to manage a risk and make concerted efforts towards reducing and controlling it than shutting down production. for the operator, shutting down seems to be the last resort. Operators usually shut down production facilities if they are confirmed to be in the way of hurricanes(which they have limited or no control of) and in the case of leaks(after they would have tried severally to control the leaks and failed). By the way shutting down a companies facility can result in a drop in share prize of the company.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443995604578004402718866938.html

 

FELIXMAIYO's picture

This is a very interesting topic looking at the perceived
conflict between safety and production. This topic does not only affect the
energy sector but it affects all the industries and companies that are driven
by profits and increase in production rate.

Most of the industries put the interest of the shareholders
ahead of the safety of the workers. In Lord Culler report on the Piper Alpha disaster
on the factors that contributed to the accident was that the company was concerned
with production overlooking the safety of the workers in the platform.

If we look outside the topic, most of you will agree with me
that there is a big problem relating to production and safety. Because most
companies are driven by profits and increase in volume of production without
looking at the safety of the workers e.g. environment they are being exposed to,
fatigue resulting from working for long hours without taking breaks.

In conclusion, safety should be given a priority over
production.

 

FELIX MAIYO

Deinyefa S. Ebikeme's picture

Claire's comment is a valid one for the developed regions but I must draw her attention to the fact that the perceived conflict of safety and production is a very dicey aspect in industrial activities worldwide (especially for the developing countries). This sometimes vary according to regions with strong legislations implemented in their operations and practices but they could sometimes go out of these legislations in the name of ALARP knowing that there is always someone (knife-edge) to take the falls when the incident occurs (especially during the construction phase). Take the recent BP oil disaster in the gulf of mexico where project completion delays and cost overruns was an issue between the client and contractor. At the time of the explosion, the project was significantly behind schedule. Operations were more than $58 million over budget. This shows that Managerial targets where yet to be reached and they had less time available to meeting them in other for the company to stay in the competitive market and start making profit. So safety practices are intangible, invisible (mostly on ink and paper) and it acts as a control rod to the production output of most industries where it is only questioned by the outside world when a major incident had occurred.  

Reference: http://www.safetynewsalert.com/7-company-practices-that-contributed-to-bp-disaster/#more-11941

Deinyefa Stephen Ebikeme IBIYF

Samuel Bamkefa's picture

Going on from Claire’s comment, I will say that I quite understand that a business is set up for the gains it would provide. A producing company should produce. Nobody should be in doubt that a company should give value to its shareholders. As simple as it sounds though, it can get more complex than that.
Humans naturally take the option that appears to be most beneficial to them. It is only when safety adherence appears more beneficial than the extra production can companies start complying with without any outside enforcement. Of course, safety adherence is more beneficial though it may not be immediately apparent. Companies that have had major accidents will easily understand the fact though, as for them, what they have lost has been beyond the worth of extra production. Safety will cost, toying with safety has the potential of costing more
Than being said, I will say that as a matter of regulation, the penalty for non-compliance to appropriate safety procedures and regulations by companies should be made very severe. This should not only happen when an accident occurs. Penalising companies even before accidents can be a way to save the company itself, and of course to save lives and the environment.
Compromising safety on the basis of maximising production is akin to a time bomb. It may take long, but when it explodes, the company itself may not survive. There are examples all over.

 

Samuel Bamkefa

SON CHANGHWAN's picture


I agree with Samuel's post. Major operator like
Shell, Chevron really know about what is the impact of accident. It means not
only company cannot gain profit but also huge cost for contamination is waiting
for them. Also, i doubt offshore work and engineer will care about more
production. Some may have but their safety will much more important than this.
accident can totally ruins engineer's career and makes offshore workers not to
go back home forever. Even though criticality, people forget this lesson if it's
happened occasionally. Then, it could be a matter of regulation. regulators
enlighten people industry that there are some risk. It could be realized by
guidelines or administrative penalties.


 


Son, changhwan 


Kobina Gyan Budu's picture

When observing from outside, this topic may appear as a perception but
from the inside one will come to terms with the fact/reality. Safety is about
following a set of steps (procedures) to perform a given task without any
incident. Safety is looking at Fatal Accident Rate (FAR), Serious Injury Rate
(SIR), Lost Time Injury (LTI), Medically Treated Injury (MTI) to mention a few
as performance indicators. Production on the other hand is about achieving a
set target On Time and In Full (OTIF). It will be measuring tons/hr,
tons/man-shift, tons/year, equipment efficiency, equipment availability,
equipment utilisation, to mention a few.

In practice, these two groups of people are in some kind of friction. Production
personnel see the safety process too cumbersome that it will not help in
achieving the target OTIF. They are therefore tempted to circumvent the procedures
(take short cuts) to achieve the target. The safety personnel are to ensure
procedures are followed and regular audits are conducted.  

To try and harmonise, the Safety department has managed to get
representatives who are members of the production team to carry out the safety
agenda. With high production targets and the need to follow safety procedures,
production personnel often reduce the safety audits to the everyday “slip-trip-and-fall”
audits relegating the more important “process safety audits” to the background.
This is where the potential hazards lie. The conflict between safety and
production is therefore a reality and not a mere perception.

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Elle Allswell David's picture

The aim of every organisation that are into business is to make profit after investment. this ideal has costs some organisations to close down entirely as a result of neglecting safety. Safety and production should work together. I think if safety of personnels and the environment are well considered and taken care of a company can run for a longer period of time and will not have the issue of compensating the family of their injured or dead staff or even paying for environmental degradation. Like what happened to Occidental oil in the Alpha Piper accident which has cost the closure of the entire company forever would have been avoided if proper attention was paid to safety, thesame thing in the case of BP in the Deep water horizon accident that damaged the image of BP and has cost the company over $20 Billion, they are still trying to rebuild their bartered image till date. Another example was the Chevron fire in Bayelsa state in Nigeria in May,2011 where the Rig operator has already noticed that the Formation Pressure is very high and the viscosity and density of the drilling fluid can no longer take care but Chevron still asked them to go ahead with the drilling instead of stopping and try to find a solution to the problem, the fire that erupted burnt for 2 months and this cost the company and the Nigerian government alot of money and the environment was damaged. All these are issue of safety negligence.

Safety and production  should work together to preserve assets, lives and the Environment.

Adekola Obayomi's picture

Oftentimes, engineers and designers are faced with how to balance risk and cost in order to deliver a cost effective design and a highly profitable engineering project.
 
In addition to the above, the pressure from the top management to deliver projects to budgeted cost in order to maximise the forecasted profits often result in companies relaxing some of the critical risk assessment processes.

Due to the subjective nature of risk assessment, some of the results of the initial assessment which show high probability with a high consequence factor are sometimes re-assessed in order to categorise them as a low probability occurrence.  This is done in order to reduce some safety factors which will eventually reduce the cost of designing and fabricating the facility.

It appears that until an organisation put safety first, make cost a secondary issue, and fully understand that a human life is invaluable, some of these disasters will still be a common place in our society

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Kareem Saheed Remi's picture

Kareem R. Saheed

Abdulazeez Bello's picture




  A production system can only be deemed
successful when it's activities are carried out safely. The biggest obstacle to this
statement is target. Most companies set bogus targets for their workforce to
increase productivity. In trying to achieve these targets a number of companies’
bypasses laid down procedures of carrying out their respective task leading to
unsafe acts and serious injuries.  
 Secondly, Risk assessments are most
times not properly laid down or findings not implemented when the task is being carried
out all in a bid to get the work started and moving.
 Sometimes the cost of running third
party contracts like drilling, Oil test and intervention   are expensive, thereby necessitating the
personnel involved to cut corners like the Macondo well incident (BP 2010).Too
many job schedules to be carried out within a prescribed time frame, this also allows
bad practices to set in.
 Another major challenge is the reliability
of the platforms, vessels, Machines and Equipment used in both onshore and offshore
locations. Many of these have spent more than their design life and are still being
managed to maximize profit.
 These conflicts of Interest have become
a major challenge for the stakeholders. Especially when existing guidelines like
the goal setting approach or the prescriptive law does not address them. This
further renews the clamour for a robust offshore risk regulation (Lindoe et. al,
2012).


References


1.            BP (2010) Deepwater Horizon
accident investigation report


2.            Lindøea, P.H, Baramb, M., Patersonc, J., (2012) Robust
Offshore Risk Regulation – an assessment of US, UK and Norwegian approaches. Paper
presented at ESREL


Kareem Saheed Remi's picture

 In
the past, it was evident that risk-taking behavior contributed to series of
work place accidents that killed and injured many workers. Nowadays, many companies
have written safety policies in place which are fully supported by the
management even at corporate level. In oil and gas industry, safety campaign is
communicated right from top management through middle and lower management
teams to the entire work force. The question is how much of these safety
policies are being enforced when it comes to addressing unusual situations that
have big impacts on production. For instance, at the point of offloading crude,
one of the offload valves was found stuck, unfortunately sea was unusually
rough with very high wave. In spite of the unsafe condition created the
weather, lower management team still send personnel out to repair the valve,
simply because the oil must be sold. This is one of many instances of “production
first” silent campaign.

The
instance above would prompt another question that “Could employ say NO when ask
to work under unsafe conditions”. To dwell more on this, 95% percent of
personnel take what seems to be “final instruction” from their immediate
bosses, which of course “saying NO” might be taken as a gesture of disrespectful
action. And couple with the fact that 90% of employees today are conscious of
saving their jobs, they go ahead to device a means of working under such an
unsafe condition in other to please their bosses.

In
reality however, there are mixed messages at the middle management level and
personnel when it comes to putting safety policies into practice.

 

Kareem R. Saheed

Kareem Saheed Remi's picture

Kareem R. Saheed

SON CHANGHWAN's picture


Achieving internal target make a conflict with safety. if we extend chracter of porduction to profit, it could be applied in development phase too. Development project is limited by several constraints
like schedule and budget. These cost give a direct impact on company’s financial
status e.g. late project completion is late production start which means
revenue beginning is delayed, so it is major part of project.


On a contrary, reliability
and safety in system is other part of achievement as a long term outcome. Higher
level of system is coming with bigger cost but this will guarantee safe
production. I believe practical balance between input and outcome is ALARP in UK
and “good engineering practice” in the other part of world. [1]


In other words,
safety and production (profit) is important at the same time. If we have too
much weigh on one, the other one cannot be achieved. E.g. procedure omission in
workover might help for a faster operation but workers would be exposed to high
risk in safety.  


Because of
incompatibility, exclusive department in the company e.g. project management
and operation installation management makes an effort to keep good balance
between safety and production.


 


Regards,


 


Reference


[1]: ALARP: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ALARP


 


SON, CHANG HWAN


Kobina Gyan Budu's picture

Management knows that without safety, the organisation will not survive and so safety is prominent in their mission and vision statements. Some even have their slogans “Safety First” and the pressure is always on the safety department.  However, most often when the directors/management are setting the targets, their focus is on shareholders capital returns and not very much on safety. Production targets often come with monetary/material bonus.
In trying to achieve safety, production targets are normally tied to the safety performance indicators. For example in a particular quarter, if the Lost-Time-Injury (LTI) record is broken, which means an LTI is recorded, the production target achieved is zeroed out. The hope is that by so doing, people will consciously try to stay safe and still achieve the target. On the contrary, while the safety team will do more to keep the work environment safe always, the production team will always find short cuts to achieve the normally high targets management sets. This is the paradox about safety and production.

JOHN BOSCO ALIGANYIRA's picture


Discussion
Topic 18
: The perceived conflict between safety and production

I do agree that there is always a conflict between safety and production since most organisations put much focus on the bottom line in order to make the shareholders happy by making quick returns however it is important for organisations not only to look at production but sustainable production and this can only be acheived if all key areas are put into consideration and safety is one of them.

One mistake  made by a company resulting from absence of proper safety measures could result in the culmination or tarnishing of the company image forexample fatality resulting from a company's failure to provide employees with proper protective gear could lead to loss of public trust and a significant drop in sales. It  is possible for companies to adhere to safety measures provided there is proper legislation in place as well as a dedicated health and safety department whose role is to enforce health and safety measures however most organisations devise means of reducing operational costs  in order to maximize profits by only focusing on production which is wrong.Even though safety is a collective responsibility in every organisation but it requires a dedicated and experienced  team in order to be enforced.It should however be noted that it is the production department in every organisation that mainly supports the other departments and that is why it is given much focus because without production,there will be no funds to support safety measures and other departments.

Another challenge impacting on safety in organisations is a high level of bureaucracy involved in that even in case of an emergency forexample during production,the technicians may not have the the mandate to turn off the entire production line until they receive an order from the production manager because this could have a serious impact on the production since  some lines are  designed to run continuously forexample in a steel rolling mill.Safety is like a culture that needs to be developed by organisations/companies  and as long as there are proper measures in place,it is very possible to create a balance between safety and production.

Regards,

John Bosco Aliganyira

Msc.Oil and Gas Engineering.


Menelaos Michelakis's picture

(Topic : Money invested and safety, instead of safety and production)

They reason i make this post, is because i have a slightly different point of view. There is not exactly a conflict between safety and production, today, because the world has changed so much during the last 60 years that safety is not affected mainly by production but by the amount of budget that the company pays for safety - how much money are to be invested amongst the various sectors of safety !

Back, before 1950 the production was not mechanised in the levels it is today, so worker's safety was affected much more by production. Back in these days, or even earlier, miners would use hand shovels or mattocks, in a coal ported for instance. Today, trucks, shovels, bucket wheel excavators, are used instead, which means 2 things : 

1. Increased safety, compared to older mining methods

2. Fewer workers, which means less danger by all aspects

Also, safety is affected by the education workers have received on their specialties. This is paid mostly by the company, which means extra expenditures, in the form of seminars, or meetings or even special schools.

To conclude, the conflict is not between production and safety these days, but mostly between money and safety, which means that each time the company wishes to increase safety, losses profit.

I have maden one post, using numbers, in the discussion about ALARP, explaining a similar occasion.

Your opinion please...

Kwadwo Boateng Aniagyei's picture


What you have said is partly true but not in its entirety. It
is a well known fact that money influences everything in this world. The reason
why budget allocations for safety purposes are small is because most companies
will siphon the money into areas where production can be optimized. This could be
investing into new technologies
,
research and development
,
acquiring exploration and production licenses
, farming licenses and acquisition of assets. These avenues
will generate income for the companies and help the companies make more profits
that investments into safety can never generate. So it’s always about production
targets because increased production levels will generate more profit. Thus
, resulting in little budget
allocation for safety management at the workplace and this is not because the
companies face financial challenges or they do not deem investment into safety
necessary
, but they
rather opt to go after profitable ventures.


Kwadwo Boateng Aniagyei's picture


What you have said is partly true but not in its entirety. It
is a well known fact that money influences everything in this world. The reason
why budget allocations for safety purposes are small is because most companies
will siphon the money into areas where production can be optimized. This could be
investing into new technologies
,
research and development
,
acquiring exploration and production licenses
, farming licenses and acquisition of assets. These avenues
will generate income for the companies and help the companies make more profits
that investments into safety can never generate. So it’s always about production
targets because increased production levels will generate more profit. Thus
, resulting in little budget
allocation for safety management at the workplace and this is not because the
companies face financial challenges or they do not deem investment into safety
necessary
, but they
rather opt to go after profitable ventures.


Kareem Saheed Remi's picture

In addition to Adekola’s
points I would like to add that accounting practices work against the “Safety
First” approach most especially toward completion of project or when the budget
is over run. There is a financial conflict between cost/profit and the costs of
managing risk. In addition, it is not possible to account for all the costs of
poor risk management or the full benefits of effective risk management. Further
human capital to be spent on training of personnel and creating safety
awareness is treated as expenditure not an asset therefore the benefits of
training and development are often under-estimated, and as a result, new
employees have limited knowledge of his duty safety-wise as peculiar to the
facility he finds himself.
 

Kareem R. Saheed

Mohamed H. Metwally's picture

In my experience as an offshore installation engineer, oftentimes, the ordinary worker himself is the one who volunteers and does safety violations in order to get things done quicker, which is not as per company policy or even according to instructions from his bosses.

I think that this has to do more with the attitude of the worker who is psychologically production-oriented so it is very difficult to make him look at things from safety perspective while he is in the midst of his job.

That is why this topic has to be studied from the grassroots level; not only the looking at the companies policies or the behavior of managers and supervisors.

Emmanuel Mbata's picture

Yes i totally agree with you. Most companies goals and aim is to increase productions, and you notice in most cases that workers are giving incentives and award if they meet or exceeds the companies target. so this tends to make workers focus soley on productions without considering the effect on their health

Most companies talk about safety theoritically (safety policy) but encourages productions more. 

But through constant safety training and awareness campaign, prosecution of companies that overlook the safety of their workers the trend will change, people will start taking safety as a way of life.

Kobina Gyan Budu's picture

I agree with Menelaos that the conflict is between money and safety. Considering the old ways
of doing things in the industry (example in the coal mines) and the mechanised manner in which
the same job is done today, yes companies are paying more to get safer workplace than before.

However, if a company pays more for the sake of safety, where does it recover the expenditure
in order to stay profitable? From PRODUCTION, of course. High safety standards once set, an
organisation will have to do all it can to maintain, if not improve upon because of reputation.
The expenditure made in achieving and maintaining this standard will certainly have to be re-cooped
and so production target will be set high. High production target will mean more pressure on the
delivery team, bringing the conflict back from money vrs production to safety vrs production.

Menelaos Michelakis's picture

(Answer to Kobina Gyan Budu, adding information to my previous post)

You are right, but high production, does not mean necessarily more pressure on the delivery team, and i mean by that having been in such mines, (surface and underground), does not reduce safety. The pressure is mostly upon the engineers, that must find a way to get more mineral resources smart, in a proper way so production will remain at high lelevs.

Safety of workers is not decreased, because as you said there are high standards and mechanisation. they work more hours maybe but safety standards remain high. But indeed there is much more pressure for the engineering team, who must design the exploitation. How to get maximum ore quantity and quality, as safe as possible, and as easy as possible in order to reduce costs.

So safety of workers is not decreased, because mine workers, will not mine ore blindly, as in older times, because the have a feeling that they will hit a good streak. They will mine in a certain place the engineers will show them, and the responsibility belongs to the engineers if something bad happens (an accident for example). So more pressure for engineers actually, not for workers, in my view.

Ref : G.Exadaktylos, (TUC) - University lectures 

JOHN BOSCO ALIGANYIRA's picture

Menelous, I strongly agree with you because we are much aware that there are many other factors that determine the level of safety for example attitude of the employees like Mohamed has already said but of course Production and Safety go hand in hand but with more priority on production. Without production, where will you get funds to invest in safety management? It is in the interest of every company to make as much profits as they can in order to make the shareholders happy and this can be achieved through increased production and sales. As long as the future of an organisation is dependant on its level of production, there is no way a balance can be created between production and safety; safety will always lag behind production because it is the rewards of production that support safety management measures for example if the employees have run short of protective gear due to late delivery, would the Engineers stop production? Of course no, they have to compromise thus the conflict between safety and production can not be completely ruled out.

Regards,
John Bosco Aliganyira
Msc.Oil and Gas Engineering

Kobina Gyan Budu's picture

Mohamed, I share you point that often the employee unilaterally decides to circumvent the safety
procedures in order to get things done faster. Indeed, that is the attitude of some workers in the
face of production pressure.
 
However, in planning a good safety management system, human attitudes like this are taking into
consideration. There is always the tendency of people to take short-cuts to achieve a goal. That
is why there are clear operating procedures to all routine tasks, and processes in place for managing
non-routines. A good safety management system in most cases will pick such actions up and discipline
the people. Back in the mining industry, ones found with that behaviour, the person is managed out of
the organisation.

Menelaos, Mohamed’s second paragraph also supports the fact that production is always in conflict with
safety.

In conclusion, it appears any how this topic is looked at, production will always be found in conflict
with safety.

Kobina Gyan Budu's picture

Perfectly well said Menelaos, the pressure is mostly upon engineer. They are responsible for
coming out with more innovative, cost-effective and safe methods of achieving the production
targets. But one question is, who are the engineers? Employees or not, humans or not? In many
of the accidents, we have found engineering design failure as part of the causes.
 
An example is the Piper Alpha case where the crew cabin was not safely located and therefore at
the time authority for evacuation was needed all the people who had such mandates had perished
in the first blast.
 
Another example of engineering failure on Piper Alpha is the firewalls that were not initially
designed to resist explosion but fire as the platform was originally built for oil. When the
platform was later used for gas, the firewalls were not modified to cater for gas explosion.

With these examples, it is clear that engineers (who are also humans and employees of organisations)
are as likely as the ordinary field worker to commit safety breaches under production pressure.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_Alpha, copied on October 08, 2012

Emmanuel Mbata's picture

The Conflicts Between safety and production is a dificult one to resolve, it is an issue yet to be fully addressed in safety management. There is also financial conflict between profit and the cost of managing risk. 

Production is most industries core business, increasing safety management without finding a way to balance it with production will be rejected by these industries. As it is known, most companies has safety policy and there is genuine commitment to employee health, safety and welfare at the corporate level, but this atimes does not necesarily translate into operational practise.

The non-alignment of the policy and operations are evident particularly in the role of the frontline supervisor, who is responsible for producttion and maintaining safe work practises at all times. if production target is not achieved due to safety and maybe maintenance issues have been addressed during the shift, they are held accountable, if safety on the other hand is compromised for production and somebody is injured, the supervisor is also held responsible.

One of the way to resolve this issue, is first to sell risk management rather than safety per se to management from the perspective that uncontrolled risk is a threat to both production and safety. 

Secondly, it isnecesary to review all areas of management systems to eliminate areas of non-alignments, particularly conflicting messages and priorities. some of the issues includes production bonuses and competitions among the supervisor to be the best in productions alone

Finally, managers and employees alike should be taught that the ability to identify and manage risk is a life skill not just a job skill. 

 

 

Reference www.safetycouncil.org.nz 

Olamide s Ajala's picture

The perceived conflicts between safety and production for most manufacturing company or profit oriented company is the major cause of loss of operator integrity which needs to be taken seriously.
Most companys are always particular about maximizing production at the expense of safety which result into major disaster witnessed in the past.
A classical example of this is the PiperAlpha incident on July 6 1988 which 167 people lost their lifes because  the Occidental oil company  before the incident  had the unfortunate motto “keep it flowing”. After the first explosion,The fire would have burnt out were it not being fed with oil from other platforms, the resulting back pressure forcing fresh fuel out of ruptured pipework on Piper, directly into the heart of the fire. Claymore platform continued pumping until the second explosion because the manager had no permission from the Occidental control centre to shut down.
The obvious reason for this procedure was the high cost of such a shut down. It would have taken several days to resume production after a stop, with substantial financial consequences at the expense of people safety.
Another example, is the flixborough incident on june 1st 1974 that claimed 28 lives where production was given higher priority over peoples life. A  temporary bypass pipe was constructed to  bypass the leaking reactor which contain a highly explosive chemical to allow continued operation (i.e to maximize production) of the plant while repairs were made at the expense of safety.
Haven said all these , it is very important to note that  even though new legislative procedure have been put inplace to ensure workers and environment safety, this situation still arises because humans genarally are always looking for short cuts to maximize there gains.
These problems will only be solved when people have resolved within their minds to value peoples lifes far above money.

Dike Nwabueze Chinedu.'s picture

The perceived conflict between safety and production can be viewed in the light of continued production at the expense of safety ( elements of egg and chicken exist here). Although regulations such as HSWA, SCR exist and places responsibility on the duty holder and the employees for their own safety, accidents continue to occur.

Companies are profit driven but I believe that safety is more important to protect even the profit sort. In cases were safety has been fully relegated for continued production, major fatalaties has been seen to occur. Apart from incompetency that could lead to disaster as seen in the flixborough nypro plant disaster where improper plant modification by maintenance staff without the required engineering skills, "gross negligence" of safety for profit maximization is a major cause of industrial accidents. In the Bhopal chemical plant disaster, we see the gross negligence of safety for continued production
as the safety system was switched off to save money and to allow larger storage
of the chemical than safety system could allow. Another example is the Buncefield oil storage tank issue, where there was a tank overflow. The "keep it flowing" company will always wish the paid more attention to safety as seen in the Northsea in 1998 
". Thus, there is always a "grey area" around safety and production.

But i personally believe that senior management should ensure that all safety systems are not just in place but should be complied with at all times even when it means shutting down production. 

In general, employees will always want to do as the company says by trying to maximise profit even when it is not safe, yet when an accident occurs, the employer will blame it on "employee sabotage.

Adejugba Olusola's picture

The perceived conflict between safety and production especially in the UKCS is a paradox that has been brought to the discussion table with the onset of the goal-setting regime instituted by legislation.However, I am of the opinion that safety should not be seen as at odds with production.

The cost of getting it wrong is too high. Still fresh in our minds is the Macondo accident that left 11 people dead. It has been estimated that the social costs for the companies involved including lost reputation and opportunities worldwide is about USD60bn which equates to a year and a half of global offshore drilling.[2]

I strongly believe strong leadership from top management for safety is needed to drive these improvements. Mohammed mentioned an important aspect of workers themselves cutting corners but I dare say this emanates from the culture within an organisation and management should be responsible in delivering and re-enforcing the message that cutting corners especially in safety, violations and not following company policies is completely unacceptable at every level within the organisation. Lack of knowledge however, is also a cause for concern. Like Claire pointed out, rewarding production may influence these decisions so conversely, instituting an equal or even better reward mechanism for safety should motivate the personnel towards safety.

Reviews of major accidents in the North Sea and internationally, reveal that causes of incidents almost always involve the following:

  •     Failure to learn lessons

  •  Inadequate understanding of risk

  •  Inadequate risk management

  •   Inadequate management[3]

In meeting the rising global energy demands, the oil & gas industry will continue to push the boundaries of complexities of drilling and production and with technological advancement, the safety vs production paradox is here to stay. Heavy responsibility for safety is on companies and their management. Responsibility also lies with employees especially those on the frontlines. Legislation is also key to ensuring safety is not compromised due to production. It is in response to the weight of responsibility on companies and their top management that laws such as the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act was introduced in 2007. It seeks to prosecute companies where accidents resulting in fatality(ies) have happened as a result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care [1].

I can only conclude the industry is heading in the right direction but more has to be done to ensure safety and production go hand in hand. Safety should not be seen at odds with production but good safety is good business. 

References

1.      HSE http://www.hse.gov.uk/corpmanslaughter/index.htm

2.      Hans Henrik Ramm. Confronting safety paradoxes in the oil and gas industry in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. ONS Safety Lunch, 2012.

3.      Psa/mospeech 1. How much Safety is too much – or too little?. ONS Safety Lunch, 2012.

Trevor Strawbridge's picture

This is a facinating area, and hs been the topic of critisism since, well as far as I can remember. Some Company's still take chances and compromise safety for the extra income. In the subsea sector this appears not to be the case within the UK and most of the EEC. That is not to say the supply chain has fully kept up with subsea. Regardless, the point I wish to make here is that there is another factor to be included into the equation. That is "Quality". Where company's are focused on "getting it done right first time" they are the company's that tend to be the more successful in terms of profit, reputation and sustainable business. The down side here is that they can also  be more expensive due to the cost s of quality and safety tools and systems. However if we look at this in terms of Productivity that includes the lesser rate of returned goods, rework and scrap, then a little extra time taken to do the job correctly should be standard (less haste, more speed). So here is my equation Safety + Quality = Productivity. If the left side of the equation is performed correctly then the right side will flourish.

Comment welcome

 Trevor Strawbridge

MSC Subsea Engineering

Trevor Strawbridge's picture

In 2009 a rigger was killed when a Cursor decended and crushed him> A Cursor is a housing type structure for a dive bell. This is controlled via a hydraulically operated winch .  During the time the rigger was performing work; removing bouancy modules, when the cursor made an uncontrolled movement that resulted in fatal injuries. Follow the link below to read the marine accident investigation board's investigation. The report lists 27 failures in the management system that lead to this fatality. In this case the lessons learned are apparently implemented. Howeevr the point to discuss here is that despite the company's at the forefront of this investigation; having robust quality and safety management systems there appears to have been lack of application. In this case a life was lost simply because procedures from as early as design and manufacture stages, that are in place were not followed

 As usual comments are welcome and welcome views and comments

 http://www.maib.gov.uk/cms_resources.cfm?file=/Wellservicer_Report.pdf

Trevor Strawbridge

MSC Subsea Engineering 

 

Samuel Bamkefa's picture

I will like to comment along the line of the dialogue between Menelaos and Kobina

First, I will like to take a slightly different view from the fact that this is a conflict between money and safety. I still think production can directly be affected. Sometimes, the cost of safety is not directly in money. The cost for some safety practices is time. I will give a example. A technicial that is meant to complete a job safety analysis of a work is he meant to do might be pressured to disregard it in order to get the work going, thereby making sure more production can be achieved in a particular period. This does not mean money has not been spent to train the technician. Another example: there may be safety processes that require a shutdown of facilities. A company hungry for production can decide to find a way to boycott this, as it will affect how much they are churning out

My point mainly is that, it is not always a conflict between safety and money as it were alone;  some kind of 'safey' cannot be bought with money, no matter how much is available

Babawale Onagbola's picture

This is a very interesting topic. I agree with all the comments shared so far but my point is more or less similar to Mohammed's. This conflict between production/operation and safety is not percieved, its real. The crux of the issue in my opinion is the human element associated with decision making. In my experience with one of the more significant multinationals where I worked as an engineer, the problem was never that the employees directly involved in production chose to circumvent safety procedures (in anticipation of higher rewards and performance bonuses or otherwise), the problem was that the same management that organizes safety campaigns, promotes adherence to safety at all levels and spends HUGE amounts on implementing safety strategies, influence the actions or inactions that sacrifice safety for production. I equally want to second samuel's last comment, its not always about the monies invoved. Many organizations are "responsible" in the corporate world. They allocate fat budgets for implementation of safety related strategies, so the money involved with "buying" safety is not the issue. In the end, it boils down to the critical decisions that are made when the chips are down, and more likely than not, it would be increased production over safety. Eventually, it is the individual whose table "the buck stops", that can ultimately resolve the conflict between production and safety.

Uko Bassey's picture

There different factors that contribute to the constant violations of safety procedures with regards to production and output. I want to state also that ignorance of the problem can be a great contributing factor. Ignorance on both the part of the operator and management can be very detrimental to the system. Ignorance here can be the absence of risk level available in a particular operation or inability to ascertain the safety condition of it.  Another way of viewing it could be that of incompetency in decoding the safety mode of operations. The concept of ALARP as mentioned by earlier by Michael can be misleading as it is very flexible and subject to abuse. 

As discussed in this trail, it shows that implementations of safety processes and standards are the major issues and not its availability. Safety procedures should not be at comfort nor used at convenience but as the only way of operations. It is worth emphasizing that safety is not negotiable and should by no means be compromised for anything. In reality, only healthy employees with safe systems produce optimally and hence meet or surpass targets. 

My suggestion would be to use a system (where possible) that will operate only when all conditions are certified without any access to bypass.

Uko Bassey

Subsea Engineering.

Ike Precious C.'s picture

Good comment Uko but I tend to prefer Negligence instead of Ignorance.
According to Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary,
Ignorance is "a lack of knowledge or information about something"

Negligence is "the failure to give somebody/something enough care or attention".

From these definitions, I believe Ignorance can be situational while Negligence is a choice made.

Most of these companies have safety procedures in place but just neglect them just because there have never been a situation where the consequences have been seen or felt.
Some of the worse accidents I can attribute to Negligence; example, The Bhopal disaster, The Deepwater Horizon Accident etc. After the accidents, investigations revealed signs of failure even before the eventual failure but all were such signs were neglected.
Even some of these employees tend to act over-zealous and offer themselves when such issues come up so as to be seen as a Hardworking employee while putting their lives at risk.

Thank you.

Precious Ike

Ike Precious C.'s picture

Good comment Uko but I tend to prefer Negligence instead of Ignorance.
According to Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary,
Ignorance is "a lack of knowledge or information about something"

Negligence is "the failure to give somebody/something enough care or attention".

From these definitions, I believe Ignorance can be situational while Negligence is a choice made.

Most of these companies have safety procedures in place but just neglect them just because there have never been a situation where the consequences have been seen or felt.
Some of the worse accidents I can attribute to Negligence; example, The Bhopal disaster, The Deepwater Horizon Accident etc. After the accidents, investigations revealed signs of failure even before the eventual failure but all were such signs were neglected.
Even some of these employees tend to act over-zealous and offer themselves when such issues come up so as to be seen as a Hardworking employee while putting their lives at risk.

Thank you.

Precious Ike

Oluwasegun Onasanya's picture

THE PERCEIVED CONFLICT BETWEEN SAFETY AND PRODUCTION.

I strongly do not beleive that any employer wants to acheive a good and steady production rate with the blood of her employees. No company wants a bad reputation attached to their name
all because they want to make money and thereby pushing the safety of their work force and work place aside. Its not going to be for long before nemesis catches up with such a company that beleives that safety has
nothing to do with a safe production.
Imagine an organisation with a high fatality rate, Days away from work, serious injury rate, what kind of a work place are they building for their work force-a place of slaughter? That should not be, as every worker,
as the right to life and every worker should come to work and go back home to their loved ones, the way they came to work.
I do not see production conflicting with safety, as it is the duty of every employer to ensure that their employee work safely, get the necessary safety awareness and enforce a good safety behaviour at the work place. And it is also the duty of every employee that
he/she works safely, because any injury sustained is bored majorly by the employee-this may be a permanent disability or even death.
Employee should report any abnormalities they perceived that can cause any incident to the management and if this perception is true, management should take the pain to stop Production and allow the problems to be rectified before commencing production asit is better to loose
production and have a Lost Production Opportunity (LPO) that lost human lives.
Pressure should not be put on employees to get a job done at a particular point in time without any consideration of the Stress condition been placed on them as incidents are likely to occur.
Therefore safety and production are compactible and should work hand in hand as it allows the workers to choose to work safely without fear of falling short on production tasks in the eyes of management.

Reference.

www.sciencedirect.com

Bassey Kufre Peter's picture

Having read the numerous contributions from my colleagues. I will like to take a critical analysis of the concept of “Perceived Conflict between Safety and Production” from a different angle.

A RELIABILITY BLOCK DIAGRAM(RBD) should often be employed to analyze the integrity of a system so as to avoid compromise between the safety of the production capacity.

The RBD analyses will give room for REDUNDANCY for critical components whose failure can stop the production capacity of the plant.

It will also give room for a switch during PREVENTIVE OR BREAKDOWN MAINTENANCE without shutting down the plant for maintenance thereby stopping production or endangering the life of the Technicians when carrying out a maintenance activities while the plant is still running. This was the case of a PIPER ALPHA DISASTER OF JULY 6 1988. 

Hence every operator must strike to maintain a balance between making profit and safety which could damage the reputation of the company.  

 

Bassey, Kufre Peter
M.Sc-Subsea Engineering-2012/2013
University of Aberdeen.

Soseleye F. Ideriah's picture

As Michael pointed out in an earlier post, the present legislation does not express that safety is more important than profit. We should always remember that the goal of every profit driven organisation is to create wealth. It is unfortunate that sometimes, this is done by compromising safety. Organisations must take relevant steps to ensure that profit is made in the safest possible conditions.

The concept of ALARP presents a link between safety and production. Organisations should continue to reduce the risk, so far as the benefits practicably outweigh the consequences. But should an organisation continue a process that has a high failure probability if the cost of further risk reduction is seen as too high? No!

In my opinion, the phrase “reasonably practicable” is all encompassing. A process that poses high risk is not reasonably practicable. Reducing risk to the extent where a further reduction results in a significant drop in profit is also not reasonably practicable. As my colleagues have pointed out, the proper approach is to strike a balance between ensuring profit and ensuring safety. This is what the best organisations do.

Giorgos Hadjieleftheriou's picture

THE PERCEIVED
CONFLICT BETWEEN SAFETY AND PRODUCTION

 

Based on a life time experience I was taking part on a
project for a part time job. The responsibility of the company was the
mechanical installations of a building. The safety regulations where very good
and everyone inside the building (workers, supervisors etc.) where following
them. People in charge just for the safety regulations where moving around the
building and inspect. Having such services in projects can be very helpful for
several reasons. First and the most important is the human power. Less
accidents every year and every time regulations become better and better.
Second is the production rate. Most of the times projects have time limits
which must be on schedule. Having rules to follow, operations are going as
planted. This also can cost time because if there is something heavy and it
must to be moved, a crane must do the job and this might take some time.  Safety in building has room for improvement
and safety engineers and managers are designing new ways for avoiding any
accidents during work.

Hanifah N. Lubega's picture

Majority of the contributions on this thread seem to bring out the fact that Organisations tend to by-pass safety in favour of production (at least that what i perceived), but I would like to think of it in a way that Safety actually improves production, so they somehow tend to be proportional to each other. Would you agree with me that production could be highly affected by increased failures and/or accidents in a workplace? As we protect the environment and workers from accidents in a given system, we are at the same time maximising continuity in production. Consider an example of an oil pipeline, ensuring the integrity of the pipeline aims at pollution prevention, accidents/hazards minimisation/prevention while at the same time reducing/minimising possible product losses (money). There is no way a company will ignore the integrity of a tank or pipeline in favour of production because the risks of failure are high.Also, looking at it in terms of Occupational Health and safety, Imagine operations that require input of personnel within the production line/process (for example a cigarette factory that might require people to sort or hand strip the tobacco leaf). Failing to ensure safety of the workers means that you are increasing the probability of accidents/injuries and/or illnesses, meaning that this person will be off work for a given period, which may affect the entire production and hence lead to losses. The incident of causing fatalities is even worse because a lot of money will be lost in compensation instead of improving system reliability. In whatever way we look at it, it’s very vital for organisations that are aiming at increased production and profit (success) to consider safety FIRST.

 

Felipe.Santana.Lima's picture

I tend to agree with Asokhia Benjamin’s view that the conflict between safety and production is rather a short-sighted perception than a reality. The historic examples such as Piper Alpha in 1988, P-36 in 2001 and Deepwater Horizon in 2010 provide some lessons about the magnitude of the consequences of failure events, which disrupt production for long periods (sometimes forever in a given well or field).

HSE, quality management, P&D, training, and many other are areas that tend to produce great benefits in long term (even in production terms and therefore financial), but in short term these benefits are not as visible and hence they tend to be seen as unnecessary burdens. An aircraft flying in cruise altitude can shut down all engines and even maintain the altitude for a while. Is this a viable way of saving fuel? Obviously not, because over time it will lose speed and eventually stall. But the effect does not come immediately after shutting down the engines, on the contrary, the first impression is that the aircraft just became much more efficient and the ride is much smoother.

Stopping (or reducing) investing in HSE (as well as quality, P&D, training, etc.) is like shutting the airplane engines down. The short term impression may be that loads of money can be saved and a huge organisational effort (sometimes troublesome) can be avoided, but in the future the consequences will show up and they will certainly not be positive. Entire organisations can stall when the disaster strikes such as Occidental Petroleum, Petrobras and BP did in the aftermath of Piper Alpha, P-36 and Deepwater Horizon.

Sineenat Kruennumjai's picture

Topic 18: THE PERCEIVED CONFLICT BETWEEN SAFETY AND PRODUCTION

 The perceived conflict between safety and production is very important. This is because the production target might be compromised by safety, such as the failure of devices, injury of resources. If failure frequently occurs, the impact of production targets will be greater. The conflict between safety and production cause by the non-alignment of strategy and actual practice. Such issue can be addressed by risk-management. Poor rise-management is bringing about high injury, high damage, and high product losses. Moreover, all areas of management system should be review in order to eliminate the non-alignment areas. Last but not least, employees should be implanted that risk-management or the ability to identify and manage risk is not just a job skill, but it is a life skill.
So, the key thing for adjust or eliminate the non-alignment areas is that clearly understanding of the conflict between safety and production.  

Source; http://www.safetycouncil.org.nz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=68:risk-management-is-the-the-key-solving-the-conflict-between-safety-and-production&catid=75&Itemid=88

Posted BY
Sineenat Kruennumjai
ID 51126536

Richard Sedafor's picture

RS

I think I share the opinion of many of my colleagues, but I will further add to what has been discussed. Improvement in safety standards at the work place oftern lead to improvement in production through increased productivity. As humans, we all tend to ensure that we are safe before anything else. Goh,Yang Miang (2012) in analysing the relationship between production and protection through safety related activity showed that a strong production drive can seriously reduce risk perception. The journal analysed a  fatal rock fall accident in Tasmania, Australia.

In some cases, the perception of hazard can limit work output. For example many workers will not put in their best if they know that they are likely to be injured while performing a certain task. If a certain machine critical to operation is not performing well due to faulty electrical parts and a worker is asked to use it to perform a certain task, the fear of danger will prevent his mind from focusing on the activity at hand. He may pschologically be focusing on a route of escape in the effect of danger than focusing on production. A study [2] found out that occupational health and safety negatively affect the productivity in the food industry thereby reducing workers output. The solution given by the study to the problem is to increase occupational health and safety training in the food industry. From these illustrations, reducing safety can reduce productivity.

 

Reference. 

[1]GOH, Y.M., LOVE, P.E.D., BROWN, H. and SPICKETT, J., 2012. Organizational Accidents: A Systemic Model of Production versus Protection. Journal of Management Studies, 49(1), pp. 52-76.

[2]http://www.academicjournals.org/ajbm/pdf/pdf2010/4Oct/Katsuro%20et%20al.pdf

[3]http://www.kelbyergodesign.com/page/blog/q-post=58_safety-vs-productivit...

Liu Yishan's picture

Most managers of companies believe that making profit is the purpose of their companies. Indeed, a company wants to gain the most economic benefit by increase the production of their merchandise. They may only focus on the production but ignore the important of safety. Actually, it is not the truth that less safety, more production. The truth is more safety, more production. It is because safety can keep workers in a positive attitude to the companies. When workers feel safe during working, the production would raise up. However, if the injury rate is high, workers may have negative positions that reduce the production. What's more, the injured workers are not productive as healthy workers that would increase unexpected production cost and missed deadlines. These are all cut into companies' profits. Therefore, the employers should not only try to increase the production but ignore the enhancement of safety. Safety will bring profit to companies. Safety and production are not conflictive.

Reference: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/dosh_publications/foremanweb.pdf

VICTOR ETIM's picture


For
most production projects, cost, relevant successful deliverables, throughput, environmental
impact and safety are often of key importance but striking the balance is the
comprehensive knowledge and willingness to comply with the best engineering practices
and standards. As the awareness on the need for reduction or elimination of
hazards and its inherent consequences, engineers must ensure that all
operations are planned, designed and executed in appropriate necessary
and reasonably proportion of safety to profit making.


Therefore,
it is duly compulsory that all existing processes and plants must be Risk assessed,
analysed, evaluated and controlled for its reliability regularly with
proper housekeeping to ensure safety from hazards against loss of capital,
production, reputation and human life as this is minimal compare to the
cost of maintenance in most cases.


While
for any new project or future existing plant/ line modifications, approved
design duty codes application, HAZOPs, FMECA, good communication, good
emergency plan, tested alarm systems, good evacuation plan and compliance
to legislations are paramount keys against profit making in
production strategy. Therefore safety is the key driver in any energy
driven operation as related to the energy sector.


VICTOR
ETIM


51126236,
OGE


Oluwatadegbe Adesunloye Oyolola's picture

Even if a company has a ‘safety first’ policy as a strategy, it doesn’t mean that this is an operational reality. The conflict between safety and production is
therefore often caused by the non-alignment of strategy and actual practice. 

This non-alignment is particularly evident in the role of the frontline supervisor who is responsible for safety and production concurrently.  If production targets are not achieved because safety and maintenance issues have been addressed during the shift, the supervisor is held accountable. If safety is compromised for the sake of production and an injury results, the supervisor is also held accountable.

There is an inherent role conflict in the job of the supervisor in production-centered cultures.

So what is the solution? The first is to ‘sell’ risk management rather than safety per se, to management from the perspective that uncontrolled risk is a threat to both production and safety. Poor risk management leads to injuries, damage to company assets and production losses. The consequences can lead to difficulties in attracting and retaining quality personnel and reflect badly on companies’ reputations.

Secondly, it’s necessary to review all areas of the management system to eliminate areas of non-alignment, particularly conflicting messages and priorities. Some of the issues include production bonuses and competition
amongst supervisors to be the best in terms of output alone. Key performance indicators should be reviewed to ensure balanced outcomes are pursued using a scorecard methodology.

Finally, managers and employees alike should be taught that the ability to identify and manage risk is a life skill not just a job skill. 

The key to a sustainable culture in which safety and production are compatible goals is for:

  • companies to regard risk management as core business and put the systems and management system in place accordingly; and
  • Individuals to take ownership of their risk management responsibilities and receive the support of management for doing so.


Reference:

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17617239

www.cnpc.com.cn/dq/eng/shzr/aqsc/

 

Oluwatadegbe A.O

MSc Oil and Gas Engineering

Kwadwo Boateng Aniagyei's picture


Many companies have a safety policy and there is a genuine
commitment to employee health, safety and welfare at the corporate level, but this
does not necessarily translate into operational practice. In these instances,
the corporate message has not been driven down the hierarchy to the operational
level. This is referred to as the ‘Alignment Fallacy’. Whilst policies and signs
may say, “Safety First”, other messages such as output graphs, management
instructions, production pressures and reporting systems suggest that
production is number one priority. Despite the safety messages given, employees
perceive production to take precedence. Secondly; accounting practices work against
the “Safety first” approach. There is a financial conflict between profit and
the costs of managing risk. In addition, it is not possible to account for all
the costs of poor risk management or the full benefits of effective risk
management. Further human capital is treated as expenditure not an asset
therefore the benefits of training and development are often under-estimated. Also;
management practices predict the non-alignment with safety precedence. Reward systems
are based on production bonuses and individual performance evaluations that are
output focuses without equal weighting to management of safety. These conflicts
are mostly evident at operational levels. The consequences of failing to
address the “Alignment Fallacy” include poor risk management and an unhealthy
culture. Symptoms of the latter include production centricity, risk taking behavior,
poor decision making, lack of effective leadership and lack of heartfelt
commitment to the safety management system.

References

"The Conflict Between
Safety And Production Using Risk Management And Behavioral Safety Principles". Stap, Tania Van der. Conference
Proceedings.

Leziga Bakor's picture

There is indeed a conflict between safety and production. In terms of time, safety procedures slow down production. One might want to produce as quickly as possible and this, many at times will involve overlooking some safety procedures that would otherwise have made the production slow.  The safety procedures are necessary but sometimes you can ignore the procedures to get things done quickly. This has its negative effects as it puts the people working and the environment at risk of undesired consequences that may result from a potential accident. This is not a good practice and should be avoided.  It is not always best to produce at a fast rate ignoring the safety rules, but it is best to let the safety rules guide the rate of production. This is because you might gain money at first when some safety rules that might have slowed down production are ignored, but when there is an accident, the cost incurred might be more than the savings from fast production. A very good example of this is the Gulf of Mexico Macondo accident where BP ignored some safety procedures and is now being made to pay the biggest fine in the industry.

Ekaterina Pavlichenko's picture

The submissions by Bello Abulazeez, Gyan Kobina and Ad Oluwatadegbe offer what I believe to be the best compromise of opinion that I would identify with, however I’d propose that the perceived conflict between Safety and Production is being over hyped. Having worked as a front line Safety strategist with Exxon Mobil for five years I can clearly state that today within Operations (responsible for production) the culture is one of Safety First; in this we don’t refer to empty words without real meaning, we do categorically mean Safety comes First!

We would not undertake any action without first conducting a through Risk Assessment, this would take the form of a complete evaluation of all perceived risks and the actions required to mitigate these, this takes the form of a document that’s signed off by representatives of all departments and I’d like to stress that this is taken very seriously. I’d also wish to emphasize that in this we don’t just look at Personnel Safety, but also consider the Environment and even the Financial Impact associated with the task in hand; within Exxon Mobil, Safety is clearly Everybody’s business!

Yet this is not seen as a handicap to Production, indeed it’s an asset as with all activities reviewed and risks mitigated there is limited potential for losses within production; the two forces are united and work together to achieve a common objective!

As I understand it this is not unique to Exxon and most major Operators today see the advantages of uniting Safety and Production to work smoothly together. In this then it is a fallacy to comment on the one being performed without consideration of the other.   

xingyuan.fu.12@aberdeen.ac.uk's picture

Safety and production has been contradictory for a long time. Someone thinks that the production is the most important one because it will give the enterprises benefits. On the contrary, if we just pour our attention to the production without the safety, it will cause horrible issues. When it comes out, it will lead to more heavy cost. Last year, the BP project in Golf of Mexico gave rise to the oil leak under sea and in order to eliminate the pollution and the reputation lose, the company spent nearly 42 billion for this problem. Then, the company brought a new technology to prevent the leak which is called oil tap.  If the company can bring this at first, the lose will not happen. In conclusion, this project should think about the emergency measures to stop the leaking as well as other safety issues before production.

Abiaziem Davidson's picture


The conflict between safety and production is a major concern in oil and gas industry. The implications of this conflict are numerous in terms of management practice, organisation culture and human behaviour. In most industry, production is the key business while safety management is relegated to servant to production for example; Occidental Petroleum (Piper Alpha) which has its motto as "keep it flowing" and safety regulations serves production to see that this motto is kept.

There is still an alignment fallacy in most companies where safety policy is a commitment to health, safety and welfare only at the corporate level and does not translate down to the production level. Operational level should reflect the goals and value of an organisation by putting safety first in every activity.

Secondly, there is a conflict between accounting and safety; it is difficult to account for all the cost of poor risk management or the benefit of effective risk management. Training of workers on safety related program is seen as waste of resources and not benefit to the organisation.

Conflict between safety and production is perceived mostly at operational level where the supervisor ignores most if not all safety rules in order to meet with up with organisational expected production output. 

Reference.
http://www.onepetro.org/mslib/servlet/onepetropreview?id=ASSE-08-508

Tony Morgan's picture


I totally agree with many of the posts and Mark Haley, ASOKHIA BENJAMIN, Samuel
Bamkefa,
Menelaos Michelakis and Ekaterina Pavlichenko   in particular. I’m sorry to say that  Abiaziem
Davidson
has made statements which i totally disagree with and i
wonder if they are made to prompt debate ? ...I do not believe any organisation
believes that safety training is a waste of resources ?although there needs to
be a balance and view taken on how much budget or how much training is required
for personnel / roles. The answer to this is simply as much as is necessary to guarantee
competence! And this shall be different for every person and organisation.


I agree that there is definite differences in the developed
world to developing but the clue is in the namesakes i guess..the key is to
ensure there is ‘improvement’ and this needs driven by the companies operating
and taking advantage of the resources in these regions investing in them and
the regulators and legislators of the countries recognising the link and making
priorities and decisions based on this.


Interesting points of note so far are the difficulty in
linking HSE to Production and from what i read without linked KPI’s being in
place at all levels of the organisation and setting these up to link to
financial worth there is always the danger of some of these stats being simply
that instead of being used as tools to promote safety culture and really show
its value across companies, industries and countries whether developed or
developing.


This link between safety and financial contribution is the
key piece....we already have the researched links in place between better observation
reporting reducing the likleyhood of accidents , and although there are not
many direct examples the benefits must be obvious that if we introduce leading
and lagging indicators for health and safety these can be translated to clear
financial benefits which can act as justification for support from senior management.
Ref -
http://www.hse.gov.uk/leadership/casestudies-success.htm


http://www.ogp.org.uk/pubs/435.pdf


http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr462.pdf


rega
rds
tony morgan

Tony Morgan's picture


Tony Morgan's picture


I totally agree with many of the posts and Mark Haley, ASOKHIA BENJAMIN, Samuel
Bamkefa,
Menelaos Michelakis and Ekaterina Pavlichenko   in particular. I’m sorry to say that  Abiaziem
Davidson
has made statements which i totally disagree with and i
wonder if they are made to prompt debate ? ...I do not believe any organisation
believes that safety training is a waste of resources ?although there needs to
be a balance and view taken on how much budget or how much training is required
for personnel / roles. The answer to this is simply as much as is necessary to guarantee
competence! And this shall be different for every person and organisation.


I agree that there is definite differences in the developed
world to developing but the clue is in the namesakes i guess..the key is to
ensure there is ‘improvement’ and this needs driven by the companies operating
and taking advantage of the resources in these regions investing in them and
the regulators and legislators of the countries recognising the link and making
priorities and decisions based on this.


Interesting points of note so far are the difficulty in
linking HSE to Production and from what i read without linked KPI’s being in
place at all levels of the organisation and setting these up to link to
financial worth there is always the danger of some of these stats being simply
that instead of being used as tools to promote safety culture and really show
its value across companies, industries and countries whether developed or
developing.


This link between safety and financial contribution is the
key piece....we already have the researched links in place between better observation
reporting reducing the likleyhood of accidents , and although there are not
many direct examples the benefits must be obvious that if we introduce leading
and lagging indicators for health and safety these can be translated to clear
financial benefits which can act as justification for support from senior management.
Ref -
http://www.hse.gov.uk/leadership/casestudies-success.htm


http://www.ogp.org.uk/pubs/435.pdf


http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr462.pdf


rega
rds
tony morgan

William J. Wilson's picture

The key to this debate is to look at the responsibility of the managers and supervisors responsible for the production of a facility. These supervisors are accountable personally for any loss in production and it is this which puts a lot of pressure on individuals who try to avoid safety mitigation because of organisational failure to balance production and safety! This all comes down to the financial conflict between profit and managing safety.   I believe that culturally the industry would need to change to adapt to a “safety first” culture.  For supervisors who are paid in bonuses for reaching or going beyond production targets then there is no motivation (other than legislation) for them to cease production to carry out safety maintenance.  There should either be no reward system or a managed reward system which doesn’t focus purely on outputs but rather balances output production against what is deemed as safety mitigation and there should be equal weighting to production and safety.

William Wilson
MSc Subsea Engineering

Ryan Grekowicz's picture

Ideally there wouldn't be a conflict between safety and production, but unfortunately that isn't always the case.  Even though managers for production companies might be rewarded in bonuses based off of production targets, they are constantly reminded of the impact of one incident on the future of the company and the potential for them to be held criminally liable if there is an incident and it was proven that they disregarded safety measures in order to boost production.  

I think that we have reached a point in the oil and gas industry where everybody is in agreement that it makes business sense to do things correctly.  It has been demonstrated time and time again that cutting corners will catch up to you.

The scary thing about this industry, is that a company can do everything correctly, but in the end, all of the equipment is operated by humans, and humans make mistakes from time to time.  Unfortunately in our high risk high reward industry, one mistake can be catastrophic.     

ZHANGYANAN's picture

Topic 18: THE PERCEIVED CONFLICT BETWEEN SAFETY AND PRODUCTION

This topic focus on the relationship and some conflict between safety and production. Well, in my opinion, the production must base on the condition of safe.

Security is the eternal theme. It is the the most important basic requirement of human existence and the social development. Production safety is the guarantee of people's lives and health, and also the basic of social stability and economic development.

As some of industries, many of the accidents cause by the careless of people. For example the Texas city fire disaster in 1947. That was caused by the medical materials which were placed by people who was careless. Also the accident in the Gulf of Mexico, though it was caused by the vaporization of ice methane, it would not be such serious if the manager paid his attention on the accident other than the wine.

So, in conclusion, no safety, no production. We need to improve the efficient of product on the basis of the safe.

Reference:

http://www.gctbaike.com

Zhang Yanan

ID: 51233945 

MSC IN OIL AND GAS ENGINEERING
UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN

Manuel Maldonado's picture

 

Production and Safety were perceived as two disciplines with different goals. However, currently because of the safety culture and more consciousness for performing safe operations, the two disciplines can be used to achieve a common goal.

Finding the right balance or the right inbalance between the two is always the strategy to mitigate risk scenarios. There are some times when some activities with some sort of risk need to be performed to fix a piece of equipment which is causing a production loss or disrupting normal operations. That is the time when proper risk assessment need to be carried out to ensure that the risk is reduced to as low as reasonable practicable and therefore allowing the execution of the operational activity without harming people or threating the integrity of the asset.

In some countries such as UK, Norway, Canada, companies' leaders promote safe behaviors which are supported by companies' policies which reinforce them, "Safety comes first". There is a high commitment from people to ensure safety culture is implemented on any oil installation. Therefore, production is not an excuse for performing unsafe acts or exposing people or assets to any uncontrolled risks. This is not to say that in some other countries the balance or right inbalance between safety and production cannot be found and production takes priority because of the business drivers.

I think finding the right inbalance between safety and production is only related to assessing and managing risks, but the main goal always is to avoid injuring people or affecting asset integrity.

Mark Haley's picture

The solution to achieving a safety first culture within a company is empowering your staff to be able to raise a query or a problem without fear.
A good example is the piper alpha disaster when the OIMs on the neighbouring Tartan and Claymore platforms did not feel empowered to shut production down on their rigs, without first contacting management ashore. This was one of the key contributing factors to the disaster.  Had they shut down operations straight away the fire on Piper Alpha would have quickly gone out as it would have been starved of fuel.

By empowering your staff through good leadership and a strong safety culture, it has been proved that production can actually go up rather than the other way, as many would think.

By having a strong safety culture and empowering your staff to promote it, you get the added bonus of improved staff discipline and better operating procedures.  This in turn equates to improved output and lower operating costs. However, the goal for a strong safety culture must be to aim for zero incidents.  Many think this is impossible, but it has actually been shown that it can be achieved.
However, this type of strong safety culture has to be a top down approach, and it can only be through strong leadership and management.

http://www.behavioral-safety.com/articles/cardiff_safety_culture_report.pdf
http://www.jimpinto.com/writings/safetyculture.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_Alpha

Mark Haley

I believe that there is not much conflict between production and safety nowadays  in developed countries since the risks should be lowered to tha ALARP level thanks to legistlations. I believe that production companies which have higher risk potentials use different methods of risk managing called productive safety management strategy. However, the core of bussiness is production but safety should not be ignored to increase production which is happening in developing countries. 

If the the company does not meet production targets due to safety issues, the manager will be held responsible and if a person died in an accident because of production improvement policies, the manager again will be held responsible. As a result, safety measures and production targets should be managed in parallel with each other. What I would like to stress is that production should be developed by other factors not by ignoring safety. Additionally, it is obvious to all companies nowadays, that one accident can harm their reputation and will result in financial damage.Moneywise, This damage is more conflicting compared to safety management cost.

Mohamed H. Metwally's picture

In fact, this conflict is culminated in offshore industry where every minute offshore counts (in production perspective).....

So I think that one of the most effective solutions to this conflict (for offshore industry) is that the offshore professional should set the safety standard for themselves through international conferences rather than carrying over safety standards from other industries....And I think that this is consistent with ALARP concept. Do you agree with me?

Hello,

I like to think that the conflict between safety and production is changes with the environment. Initially one would think that by increasing safety this would reduce production rates, and in some senses this is true. With the additions of safety procedures, equipment the is a little less time spent on production and a little more on preparation and safety checks.  As any business man will tell you time is money and less time means less money.

Although this is the foundations of the safety and production it only really applies to a production where the workers involved are not need to be experience and are relatively easy to replace.

When a part of a production process requires skill and trained individuals (who can be few and far between) keeping them operating is more beneficial to the production rather than the risk or injury or death where the worker is away from the job for an extended period of time. In this instance giving up some time to do preparation and safety checks can prevent longer time (production) looses in the future.

To use the word conflict I would say is misleading, this would imply that they are fighting over who is right and who is more important. I like to think of it more of a balancing act. Balancing the best outcome of safety and production is a challenge but can and must be controlled and managed well.

Do you agree?

What factors have I not included that may play a part?

Is it as straight forward as this?

 

Thanks

Liam Slaven

Alan J Glennie's picture

I started work in a factory in the late 1980s ere in the early days of writing risk assessments and scopes of work which was brought in under goal setting legislation of the previous decade). The workforce was hesitant to this as they had recently been subject to ‘time and motion’ studies where management would observe you carrying out a task then judge you on the duration of time it took. This time would then be used to calculate how much work you were expected to do in a day. Thankfully this did not catch on as it caused a lot of bad feeling with the workers. At the same time, a new safety culture was in its infancy. This involved the creating of risk assessments, safety committees and safety representatives. It was the start of the cuture that has developed in the UK to where it is now where anyone can stop a job if it is unsafe without the fear of being reprimanded. However, an ex colleague, who works as a maintenance engineer in a drill rig off the Indian coast recently told me that he is repeatedly observed carrying out tasks on the drill rig. He is informed that the task took a certain time, but in their thoughts it should have only taken a much shorter time and therefore the difference will be put down against the downtime caused by the maintenance company. This could be interpreted as forcing the maintenance team to cut corners in order to minimise production downtimes and could create a detrimental non-safety culture. It looks like things over in that region are at a stage relative to the UK in the 1980’s.

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