Many companies use some sort of hazard identification checklist to do pre-job risk assessments. But this approach can discourage people to think for themselves because they have a tendency to rely on the checklist to identify all the potential problems. If the checklist does not address a key issue, the person using it may well overlook some of the hazards associated with carrying out the job.
With up to 200 skilled employees servicing and supporting upstream compression and processing products at customer sites spread throughout the Australian / Asian region, Enerflex was looking for a practical solution for pre-job planning and transition to work that would help prevent a “tick-box mentality” creeping into their team.
In early 2020 Enerflex decided to adopt the Assist and Assure Step 7 methodology to reinvigorate how pre-job risk assessments were conducted across the company. Using a 7-step process, which combines equipment checks, area preparation, the control of energy and, most importantly, a strong emphasis on communication, the Enerflex technicians incorporated the assessment as part of their safety toolkit.
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).
Arrow Energy provided Enerflex access to an Assist and Assure coach, who was able to support and guide the Enerflex team as they prepared to roll out the program company-wide.
Keen to try something new, Enerflex’s workforce embraced the Step 7 process to the extent that it has now just become part of their daily routine. This has ensured the company now has a consistent method to:
- Engage people at all levels, both individually, and collectively through questioning to confirm understanding, prove competence, and develop proficiency in safety requirements;
- Provide simple, effective strategies and tools to verify safe work processes prior to commencing any work;
- Embed a safety-focused culture ensuring everyone is working with the common objective of No Harm / No Leaks; and
- With the entire work team participating in the Step 7, efficiencies in undertaking jobs have resulted through improved workflows, organisation of equipment, tooling and skillsets which is an outcome of the structured plan the Step 7 process provides.
By completing detailed conversations regarding the hazards involved with each task, Enerflex work teams are able to reduce complacency; provide less experienced workers with insight into safer ways to operate or complete a task; and discuss previous lessons learned – which has a significant impact on the way tasks are perceived and whether controls are adequate. It allows all members of the team to switch on prior to commencing the task.
“Listening to other people’s experiences has had an impact on the way we look at the hazards we face every day and the controls we implement.” (Enerflex Technician)
“It helps me connect with employees and listen for anything that may be concerning them” (Enerflex Supervisor)
“It has helped to eliminate complacency by having a joint conversation instead of using a tick and flick that is done by yourself” (Enerflex Technician)
“It makes us think outside the box and think about different hazards when doing routine tasks because you have others to brainstorm with” (Enerflex Technician)
“It’s a lot better than our previous task assessment tool because it was completed individually whereas with Step 7 other workers in my team may pick up hazards I don’t” (Enerflex Technician)
“I’m finding my guys are more engaged as the Step 7 has put safety at the forefront of their minds as opposed to a daily tick and flick card” (Enerflex Supervisor)
- Sell the “Why?” – have a thorough understanding of the pre-job risk assessment tool you’re currently using and its limitations so that you can properly sell the need for change to your workforce.
- Engage a Coach – reach out to the Safer Together network to try and engage an Assist and Assure coach so that they can support you in introducing the Step 7 process and show you how it’s done properly.
- Get everyone involved – if the whole company uses it (not just the people on the tools, but also office-based employees) it helps break down the barriers and take away the stigma that makes some people reluctant to speak up in front of their colleagues.
Download the Case Study Poster here.
For more information about Enerflex click here.
For more information about Assist and Assure click here.
Header image: Enerflex technicians complete a Step 7 process prior to commencing the task of inserting pistons into the engine’s assembly housing.