Wild Well Control is serious about safety - part one

ByTom Schultz, Interliance Consulting, Inc.

No one knows the importance of safety and compliance more than the world’s No. 1 oil and gas emergency response company. In this two-part series, we tell the story of Wild Well Control’s commitment to safety and how they use their integrated health, safety and environment (HSE) management system to achieve impressive safety and compliance goals. Part 2 is available here.

As the fire raged out of control, flames blanketed the rig, creating a wall of intense heat and noise. Poisonous gases leaked from nearby piping. An oil well had just blown out.

This incident occurs often throughout the world–the U.S., Canada, Europe, South America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Wherever there is an oil well, there is potential danger.

When an oil or gas well blows out anywhere in the world, the first call for help is to Wild Well Control Inc. in Houston, Texas, the world’s No. 1 oil and gas well control emergency response company. In fact, Wild Well Control responds to more than 80 percent of all blowouts worldwide and 85 percent of blowouts in the U.S.

In this work environment, nothing is more essential to Wild Well Control than the safety of its employees, the safety of the equipment it uses, and the safety of every facet of its operations.

“Safety is paramount at Wild Well,” says Wild Well Control’s vice president of health, safety and environment (HSE), Casey Davis.

“First of all,” he explains, “we have a commitment to our employee’s well-being. Our company would not exist without the skills, expertise and services that our employees bring to our organization. Secondly, regulation demands that we provide a safe environment for our workforce. Third, there is a fiscal benefit to having safe operations.”

The company’s most important safety tool is an integrated HSE management system designed, created, and implemented with the help of Interliance Consulting, Inc., an industry leader with more than a quarter-century of experience building integrated management systems for energy and utility companies throughout the world.

With an effective integrated HSE management system, the workforce at all levels of a company makes better safety decisions. All of the company’s business functions and processes are re-engineered and integrated into the HSE management system, ensuring that each employee, from CEO to field technician, understands and uses the company’s safety plan.

“With this management system, we’ve lowered our underwriting costs and reduced our personnel and equipment losses to zero,” Davis says. “We avert injuries as well. Plus, our demonstrated safety commitment has allowed us to work for first-rate companies. Those companies expect safe operations and know we will be in full compliance when we’re at their facility.”

“Instead of treating safety as something outside normal employee routine, an effective integrated management system instills safe practice into every company management process and makes it an intrinsic aspect of each job description,” explains Brad Kamph, President, Interliance Consulting, Inc. “An integrated HSE management system requires commitment at every level of the company.”

That commitment to integrate the HSE management system throughout a company produces significant improvements. In fact, Davis says the management system saves his company more than $2 million annually.

Only five years ago, Wild Well Control Inc. had a traditional safety management system that was the size of a tabloid newspaper that can be found at a supermarket checkout counter.

Today, Wild Well has a robust HSE management system.

“It’s very unusual to have an HSE management system that is compliant to multiple regulatory regimes and is also an effective management tool. That’s how thorough our management system is,” Davis says.

“There’s no comparison between the original safety manual and our current integrated management system. The old safety manual was 20 to 30 pages long. Our current system is nearly the size of War and Peace,” he adds. “It’s like comparing apples and oranges. You can’t compare the two. However, this level of detail is essential to be truly effective.”

The integrated HSE system today is fully compliant with the regulations that impact Wild Well’s global operations. It supports the operational elements and situations that it can, may or will encounter. “Yet, it’s very pragmatic,” says Davis. “Our workforce knows what to do in almost any situation, and if not, they can quickly find the answer using management system procedures. It’s our solution to knowledge management.”

The integrated management system has been so effective that Davis advises his company’s oil and gas clients that they’d be wise to consider investing in an integrated HSE management system.

“We see many oil and gas operations that would benefit from a modern management system and emergency response plan,” he says. “One-third of the calls we get each year could have been avoided or reduced in severity by the use of a proper contingency plan or management system.”

Interliance Consulting is a world leader in architecture and implementation of integrated management systems for “can’t fail” business functions such as Health, Safety and Environment, Emergency and Crisis Response, Regulatory Compliance, and Risk Management.

For further information, contact Tom Schultz.

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