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Bureaucratic OHS management systems do little to improve safety at the front line and can often undermine efforts to achieve a safe workplace. People can become lulled into a false sense of security that “the paperwork will keep them safe”.

As a provider of essential upstream services to the energy and resource industries through three primary, but interconnected divisions – MPK Infrastructure, MPK Services and MPK Solutions, the safety and wellbeing of MPC Kinetic’s people is paramount. So the management team are always open to fresh ideas that can re-energise the company’s safety culture and performance.  

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Whilst doing Gathering Operations work for Shell QGC in the Surat Basin in 2018, MPC Kinetic was first introduced to Assist and Assure - a leadership skills program that focuses on engaging the workforce through 3 strategies:

  1. Transition to Work
  2. Safe Work Process (Step 7)
  3. Effective Supervision (before, during, after)

Importantly, Assist and Assure provides a safe system of working without the need for a complex and expensive safety management system. Trialled successfully across the Shell Wells Group globally, Shell subsequently gifted the Assist and Assure program to industry via Safer Together.

After observing positive changes in safety performance and culture in the Shell QGC Gathering Project, in 2020 the MPC Kinetic leadership team decided to adopt and integrate the Assist and Assure program into the Civil & Gathering Project that MPC Kinetic had been engaged to carry out  for Santos in the Surat Basin.

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For the Shell QGC Gathering Project, it took about 18 months for the Assist and Assure program to be fully deployed across the 200 or so people in the project team and effectively handed over to MPC Kinetic to run.

As a result of the experience and learning gained during this initial deployment, it took less than 12 months to fully deploy the Assist and Assure program across a larger team (approximately 300 people) working on the Santos Civil & Gathering Project.

It’s usually challenging for any company to convince a busy workforce to embrace a new safety initiative when first introduced, but the MPC Kinetic project teams recognised that the Assist & Assure program had the potential to be a game-changer because it was being actively driven (not merely “supported”) by executive and line managers, it was properly resourced, and it reduced the amount of paperwork they had to deal with. As the program began to be embedded, they could also see for themselves an overall improvement in project delivery (both in safety performance, and also in operational delivery). 

Assist and Assure has been well received by MPC Kintetic’s line managers, supervisors, and workforce because they can see for themselves the benefits:

“It’s a great program – the best I have seen in my 20-year career. The shift in culture improves the project beyond safety.” (Business Unit Leader)

“Use of Step 7 meetings as the basis of the Safe Work Process with the visual prompt of the card demonstrates that the program has been built to allow for all personnel to participate, regardless of position or skillset. This simplicity in application of the A&A Process by the personnel involved is what gets people on board with the process.  More people involved means more people engaged, and by being engaged in the process it means people are focussed. This is a safe workplace.” (Field Superintendent)

“The small amount of time it takes to step back and run through the process is a great way to refocus and make sure everyone knows what they are doing.” (Floorhand – MPK Rig 5)

  • Safer Together – safety performance has got better, and safety culture has got stronger. The severity of incidents has reduced, the responsiveness of the crews has increased, and people now have the confidence and ability to ‘Stop the Job’ and question things when they are not right.
  • More Efficient Together - it’s simple and doesn’t slow things down or add unnecessary paperwork.
  • Continually Improving Together – the frontline workforce has more control, more ability to make decisions, and better daily communication of what they are delivering. Decision-making is put back in the hands of the people ‘at the coal face’ – exactly where it should be.

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Lessons Learnt

Stick With ItAssist and Assure takes time to embed properly, so be prepared for the long haul. Don’t force the workers to accept the program -  let them see for themselves the value. Be persistent and eventually you’ll see the results.

Commitment From The Top Assist and Assure is not a program driven by the safety function, and it is not a bolt-on. Strong commitment and active investment in the process by the most senior leaders is imperative. The more the operation line (frontline supervisors and frontline leaders) own the process, the more successful it will be.

Coaching is Key – Ongoing support through the use of A&A Coaches and A&A Champions (who are part of the site peer group) is essential. You cannot just do a “sheep dip” and expect a transformation in safety performance and culture to simply happen without any effort. 

Download the Case Study Poster here.

For more information about MPC Kinetic click here.

For more information about Assist and Assure click here.