Safety evolves. How we teach it and convey its importance has to, as well. That’s how Greg Safran approaches the topic.
We met the “chief SafT officer” of Pennsylvania-based consultant SafT Integration at the recent National Drilling Association convention in Pittsburgh. Safran and SafT Integration help companies through the whole safety lifecycle, from hiring and training to inspections and claims management. After the event, we had Safran on our Drilling In-Site video and podcast series to talk all things safety. Enjoy these highlights, or watch the full interview or listen to the podcast, where we also talk about cannabis in construction and how the something called the “predictability index” helps hiring.
Q. Tell us about balancing the cost of safety measures versus the cost of not having them. Obviously, safety is a good thing, but equipment costs have soared too. Or is that even a fair consideration when we talk about reducing risk for human operators?
A. It’s always fair and that’s a concern for a lot of people. ... What goes on in the cost arena, in my opinion, is you can’t afford not to have a safety program that’s top quality. Most times — I know equipment’s expensive, the drills, all the support trucks, everything that goes along with it — if you really step back and think about it, your most expensive asset is your people, especially if something goes horribly wrong and somebody gets hurt. Now you have all the associated costs to go along with that. You got comp. You got downtime. You have insurance increases. I’m not just talking workers’ comp. It affects a lot of different angles: your property, casualty, your liability. Depending on what the incident is, auto costs. Everything just continues to snowball and then you look and go, “Man, I didn’t realize I had to retrain another guy because he’s at home, can’t work,” or whatever the story may be. It tends to roll downhill and it gets big in a hurry.
Q. When incidents happen people focus, naturally, on the injury, the person involved and how. Setting that aside for a moment, tell us about the implications for the employer. What happens next in terms of reporting and compliance with workplace safety agencies like OSHA or, for example, with a company’s insurer?
A. That’s always something that you have in the back of your head. Being a business owner, you have to do the right thing. So, it depends on the severity of the incident or injury. You could have to notify OSHA within X amount of time if people are put in a hospital or if it’s a fatality. … You better be making sure you’re submitting it to your insurance carrier for the comp. Whatever state you’re in, you’re going to have to get a hold of the claims director or the claims person so you can get that process going. [That’s] so there’s the proper coverage for the employee whether they’re in the ER or going to get whatever treatment is needed.
Most times … if you really step back and think about it, your most expensive asset is your people.
On the environmental side, if an incident occurs where there’s a release, now you have to get onto the side of notifying all the environmental people. You had better have a program in place that you understand. I always tell everybody, especially on the drilling side, environmental side and production side: You have to have all the forms and everything you need in place. I honestly believe that the drillers should be a point of contact to start this process of collecting the information with the call back to whomever you’re going to put in charge of making the notifications from the office side.
The implications? My goodness. … Let’s just say Pennsylvania: You have 21 days from the time an employee notifies you of a work comp injury to decide how that claim’s going to go for the rest of the history of that claim. You have a limited time window to jump on it, do your investigations, figure out what’s going on and handle it. That’s not to even mention, you know, something bad happens and you’re notifying OSHA, because they’re going to want to come out. They’re going to want to see what’s going on. A lot of times, you might drill a site and be done in a day or two if it’s a small job, you’re putting some monitoring wells in, maybe a gas station or something. Their limited window to visit might make it an even crazier process. So there’s a lot that can go wrong and a lot that needs to be done when there is an incident.
Q. Walk me through a morning safety meeting. What high points do I hit and how do I keep people’s attention?
A. With a big-ass pair of steel-toed boots to kick them when they’re not paying attention? I’m kidding. What I like to do is, I like to refer to it as high-intensity training, right? Like HIIT. So, short duration. Make it specific to the task that you’re getting ready to do. If you’re drilling a busy convenience store or something and there’s a boatload of traffic, that would be a great topic to talk about. Your high-vis clothing. What you’re going to do. What PPE you’re going to wear … so hard hat, safety glasses. Maybe it’s a day where you’re drilling near overhead power lines. You better be talking about looking up, the distance from the lines and what could happen, the plans to take the rods down and out, all the things that can happen. It doesn’t have to be 40 minutes or an hour. You can do this in five, 10 minutes.
I’m a big fan of using examples. Instead of talking about proper lifting — it’s a topic that everybody likes to cover because there’s a lot of strains and sprains, it’s a heavy work and heavy lifting job — if you’re moving 6-inch augers, bring a couple over and have two guys demonstrate the proper team lift or show them how to use the proper J hook for lifting it off with the equipment. Do it live and, here, sign off and everybody agrees we’re good. I always like to tell everybody, “If you’re going through a process of a job and the task is going to change later in the day, don’t be afraid to go, ‘Hey, we’re expecting to be done with this phase of the job by 1:30. At 1:30 we’re going to have another meeting talking about whatever that hazard might be.’” I just found out that high-intensity, fast-paced, hands-on, have some fun with it and get it over training sticks in peoples’ heads because the more you do that, the more hours of training you get throughout the course of the year. One or two or six of those a day? Man, that’s way better than one four-hour or eight-hour day where we’re trying to jam stuff in guys’ heads. It’s just so much better that way. That’s my favorite tailgate, safety, toolbox talk way to go personally.
The Full Interview
We interviewed safety consultant Greg Safran of SafT Integration for episode 46 of Drilling In-Site. In the full interview, we speak about everything from hiring standards to cannabis policy for construction firms. Visit www.thedriller.com/insite or www.thedriller.com/insite-podcast.
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