The oil industry has seen many booms and busts in its history, and it’s common in times of low oil prices for companies to face significant pressure to cut spending. This can lead to production slowdowns, decommissioned rigs, layoffs and other cuts with similar far-reaching consequences. It can even lead to unsafe working conditions if the HSE budget also ends up on the chopping block.
Although commodity prices may be beyond your control, periods of downturn can create opportunities for companies to invest in their future by acting strategically now. Your safety program is one of the best places to invest your time and resources during this critical juncture, and we’re here to tell you why.
Get Ahead While You Can!
Currently, companies in the upstream oil industry are facing many of the same challenges and are being limited by many of the same constraints. This may sound comforting, but the choices that your company (and your competitors) are making right now are going to determine how successfully you are able to resume operations and increase production once prices pick up again. When that time comes, will your company be at the front of the pack? How can you prepare yourself now to lead in the future?
Safety outcomes have a direct impact on the bottom line, making your HSE program a terrific place to turn to when you’re searching for an impactful way to improve your overall business performance. On the flipside, a mismanaged HSE program has many potential costs, including higher injury rates and insurance premiums, fines, disruptions to operations, lost productivity, damage to property or equipment and decreased standing with potential customers, investors and partners.
In other words, investing in safety can set you apart from the competition. If you are looking at your current approach to HSE management and are seeing some gaps, now is the time to invest in safety and get a good system in place to report, track, analyze, and mitigate risk in order to improve your safety performance.
Avoid Losing Valuable Assets
Not only do low commodity prices lead to budget cuts, but when they also result in layoffs you lose some of your most valuable assets – your people and their knowledge. Indeed, dealing with the labor shortage was a major challenge following the 2008/2009 downturn, when companies had to face the reality that many of their workers had gone elsewhere. Currently, some companies are offering unpaid vacations or even four-day work weeks in an attempt to cut costs without losing their employees.
Here’s another option: why not put some of these currently under-utilized employees to work on a project that will deliver returns both in the near future, and after prices have bounced back and production has increased? Task your people with improving the company’s safety program – not only do these employees possess a thorough understanding of your business processes as well as your safety processes and needs, but if you retain them through this slow time they will still be with you when commodity prices (and production) pick up again.
Invest in Safety Now
By investing in safety now, your company will find itself in an enviable position once prices pick up and increasing production becomes a priority again. Having efficient and effective safety processes in place will allow you to focus your full energies on production and profits.
Whether your identified areas for improvement include streamlining incident reporting and investigation, improving your change management processes, conducting inspections and implementing corrective actions, or some other important area of Health & Safety, Environment or Quality, Intelex can help. Visit our website to find out more about our Oil & Gas software solutions and fill out a form to speak to one of our Oil & Gas Industry specialists about your needs.