Like many other companies, Coho Resources traditionally used a range of safety management tools such as Job Hazard Analyses (JHAs) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to do pre-job risk assessments. But after a long run of good safety performance, a sudden rise in incidents was a wake-up call that signs of complacency were beginning to emerge. This led the team at Coho Resources to question just how effective the tools they had been using to date actually were. Just because someone reads and ticks off on a SOP, how do you know if they truly understand it? Can you be confident that they are not simply “going through the motions” and relying on the paperwork to identify all the hazards and keep them safe?
With over 120 employees servicing drilling, completion and production projects from Queensland hubs in Roma, Miles and Dalby, and a broad mix of oil & gas industry clients demanding continual improvement in safety performance, Coho Resources needed to act quickly to find and implement a practical solution for pre-job planning and transition to work that would help prevent a “tick-box mentality” creeping into their team. As a medium size company, Coho did not have the time, resources, or capital to develop their own solution from scratch.
When they looked across the full spectrum of the company’s operations, the Coho Resources team realised there was an opportunity to streamline their safety systems. Different tools were being used from one client to the next which, instead of helping to simplify, standardise and improve safety, has the opposite effect of introducing complexity and confusion that potentially hinders achieving improved safety outcomes.
Whilst doing some Tubing Inspection work for Shell QGC, Coho Resources was first introduced to Assist and Assure - a leadership skills program that focuses on engaging the workforce through 3 strategies:
- Transition to Work
- Safe Work Process (Step 7)
- 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. Early adopters included Arrow Energy, Wild Desert and Broadspectrum (Easternwell).
The team at Coho Resources observed that several other companies had also begun to use Assist and Assure. So in late 2018 the Coho management team decided to adopt and roll out the program across the entire company to reinvigorate how pre-job risk assessments were conducted in all business units.
To kick-start the program, Coho Resources sent all their field supervisors, HSE team and line managers – 10 people in total - to an Assist and Assure training course in Chinchilla arranged and hosted by Shell QGC.
The program took 2 months to roll out in order to reach everyone across the entire company because of their different work rosters.
Assist and Assure has been well received by Coho’s line managers, supervisors, and workforce because they can see for themselves the benefits:
- Safer Together - it has led to a step-change improvement in Coho’s safety performance. Since adopting Assist and Assure the company has had less incidents, less injuries and has just recently passed the milestone of achieving 700 days LTI free.
In addition, the Assist and Assure methodology provides less experienced workers with insight into safer ways to operate or complete a task and it helps them greatly when they see everyone using a common approach and everyone “on the same page”.
- More Efficient Together - it’s simple and doesn’t slow things down or add unnecessary paperwork. Across the broader industry too, people are adopting a common language. So if there are multiple companies on site, it makes life much easier if everyone is using the same tool. It also helps set the tone more broadly of multiple different parties working together as an aligned team.
- Cost-Effective Together – a lot of the time Coho Resources has people dedicated to one particular client because the client has specific tools or processes that their service providers have to adopt. Since multiple clients have started to adopt Assist and Assure, this has resulted in cost savings because Coho Resources can be more flexible in how it allocates its resources. Previously the company might have had to have a person dedicated only to client A, and another dedicated only to client B, both on the same roster. Whereas now, if the fields are located closely together, one person can go back and forth between two different client sites. This flexibility has enabled Coho Resources to optimise its headcount and save costs.
- Continually Improving Together – the quality of toolbox talks is noticeably better. These are now 2-way conversations that the whole work team is actively involved in and contributing to, helping to create stronger teams and empowering each individual to take personal ownership of the job.
Comments from Line Managers, Supervisors and the workforce included:
“The Assist and Assure process ensures that personnel are switched on at the toolbox and are aware of not only the hazards they may encounter each day, but what hazards their workmates may encounter, which makes everyone onsite look out for each other.”
“Tomorrow is your reward for Working Safely Today. Conducting Step 7s helps us achieve this.”
“Safety Works When People Work Together. Having the entire industry using A&A/Step 7 has endless synergies in regards to safety and common language.”
Stick With It – Assist and Assure takes time to embed properly, so don’t get frustrated. Be persistent and recognise that it’s unrealistic to expect an overnight transformation of your company’s safety culture.
Get The Training – Assist and Assure training is free of charge through Safer Together and will enable you to learn how to implement it properly. Also, use the support materials that are available to you through the Safer Together website – the tools are all there, they’re easy to access, and the more people that use them the more consistency we’ll get across the industry.
Get Everyone Involved – if the whole company uses Assist and Assure (not just those who work in the field) it helps promote a team mentality within the organisation. It conveys that this is not just something that “they have to do”, but instead is something “we all have to do”.
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For more information about Coho Resources click here.
For more information about Assist and Assure click here.