Maintaining a safe work environment for all employees is one of the many challenges faced by companies in the drilling industry. With varied and dynamic work environments, such as inclement weather, remote work sites and challenging terrain, safety must always remain the number one priority. What’s the best way to keep safety top of mind for employees? Keep employees involved. Employee engagement has a proven track record, especially when it comes to health and safety programs.

Today’s most successful health and safety programs integrate multiple channels of engagement to educate employees and continuously motivate them to use safe work practices. Programs become much more relevant to the actual working conditions when employees are provided frequent opportunities to contribute program content. Most importantly, taking the time to recognize employee contributions imparts a sense of pride and ownership, and often leads to higher retention and employee satisfaction rates.

Using employee engagement to their advantage, the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) program at Cascade Drilling has had proven success, resulting in an exemplary health and safety record with many of their safety metrics exceeding the national industry average. Three of the company’s employee engagement programs are designed to reinforce a behavior-based safety culture.

Cascade’s Elite Driller is one program used to gain input from employees and motivate them to excel. This program recognizes the top performing drillers based on a defined set of stringent qualifications, including experience, safety and jobsite performance. Elite Driller status is considered an honor and a tremendous achievement. Employees who achieve Elite Driller status are rewarded with a recognition ceremony and a personalized announcement showcasing their work history, merits, qualifications and contributions to the company. Other significant benefits go along with the honor, including monetary awards and a two-year term on the “Elite Drillers Commission,” a group that proposes recommendations pertaining to drilling operations, safety procedures, company strategy and related issues. These benefits and the recognition that comes along with them motivate employees to strive for the high standards required to reach the Elite Driller status. The program benefits both the individual employee and the company as a whole, while improving the safety and quality standards for all.

Another program implemented by Cascade that has proved to be very effective is Cascade Cards. Cascade Cards is a way for employees to identify hazards, take immediate action to mitigate risk and communicate the situation to the entire Cascade workforce. When employees identify an unsafe act or condition, they first intervene to correct the situation, and then simply tap into a mobile app or the company’s intranet to submit the details on a Cascade Card. The Cascade Cards are reviewed by the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) team twice a month. A few of the submissions are highlighted and distributed companywide as a way to spread awareness and share lessons learned to the entire company. All submissions are then entered into a prize drawing. Employees throughout all job functions and levels of the company actively participate in the program. With more eyes on safety, there is a much greater chance of spotting safety hazards before an incident occurs.

The Cascade Coin campaign is yet one more way that Cascade rewards employees for practicing safety. Cascade Coins recognize a variety of individual employee contributions, including customer service, quality, compliance and safety. The Safety Coin is awarded to those that go above and beyond to prevent an incident on a non-routine task or to increase safety performance. Once an employee earns two coins, they are entered into a drawing to win a monetary prize. The campaign is a great way to recognize employees who go out of their way to make their work environment safer and it encourages others to strive to do the same.

The use of these successful programs by Cascade’s EHS team shows employees the importance of safety in the workplace. Each one is designed to get all employees on board and creates an atmosphere of awareness and communication throughout the entire company. These programs have proven to be very effective in keeping everyone, no matter what department they work for, on the lookout for ways to improve the safety and well-being of themselves and those around them.