Workshop Breaks Down Importance of Safety Leadership

Organizations with mature safety cultures also are industry leaders in performance, productivity, and profitability. More importantly, these organizations keep employees motivated and happy by enabling a stable work/life balance. An organization’s safety culture requires committed leadership and can take years to develop. From then, it takes planning, preparation, and perseverance to maintain.

A hands-on workshop set for 14 February in Houston will be led by industry leaders in health, safety, and environment to provide participants the opportunity to learn how to inspire, motivate, and lead for safety and operational excellence. The Oil and Gas Safety Leadership and Safety Culture Workshop, put on by the SPE Gulf Coast Section, will start with an introduction on safety leadership that discusses how values, beliefs, and attitudes influence individual and team behavior and shape organizational safety culture.

Oil and gas operator and service company representatives will share their experiences in developing a strong safety culture and how they overcame challenges and seized opportunities along the way. The workshop will culminate in a small-group case study for participants to apply their learning and propose solutions to improve the safety culture of that organization.


Eddie Hill, safety and sustainability leader for Equinor, will speak on “How To Motivate and Lead for Operational Excellence.” The relationship between effective leadership and the successful outcomes of any business are easy to correlate. Quality work is a byproduct of effective leadership, as are all of the various indicators that are used to measure success (e.g., cost, productivity, employee morale, profit). This confirms that good safety performance is also a byproduct of quality work. With the proper strategies and effective leadership, safety can lead the way to operational excellence. Hill’s presentation will provide some practical considerations and methods for leading safety for operational excellence.


Michael L. Beaton, North America crude health, safety, security, and environment (HSEE) adviser for Shell Trading, will speak about his company’s “Journey to Goal Zero.” Beaton will share Shell Trading’s experience in guiding and influencing third-party HSSE programs to drive improvements in operational excellence. He will delve into what it takes to develop a proper safety culture and embed the goal-zero mindset within third-party organizations.


Jeffrey Burro, project health, environment, and safety manager for Marathon Oil, will speak on “Communicating the Safety Message With Impact.” Field leaders must have the ability to communicate a safety message effectively, whether it be a one-on-one conversation with a new employee, a prejob meeting with a crew, or a town-hall meeting with a larger audience. How does one set clear expectations, connect with an audience, and gain commitment moving forward? In 2018, Marathon facilitated safety-leadership courses for more than 1,200 employees and contract personnel, which culminate with each participant crafting and delivering their own “safety stump speech.” Burro will cover the safety-leadership course curriculum Marathon is using to maximize discretionary effort of personnel on the jobsite and introduce a practical tool for using personal stories to influence an organization’s safety culture positively. 

Register for the workshop here.



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