Working on offshore oil and gas production platforms can be intense, so situational awareness is critical, proper training is essential, and safety is not negotiable.
Rules, regulations, policies and procedures have been designed to protect workers and the environment. Merely knowing the rules will not ensure safety and prevent incidents and injuries unless this knowledge is translated into action on a constant basis.
“We expect compliance; you are not doing Apache or yourself a favor by doing anything different,” said Shannon Savoy, offshore district manager of Apache’s Gulf Coast Region.
As operations in the Gulf of Mexico expand – the company now operates more than 750 structures, including 145 manned facilities – the Apache culture of performing tasks with a sense of urgency must be embraced, but not at the sake of safety or risk to the environment.
Apache decided to hire and place company personnel on each manned platform after the Devon acquisition to improve safety and compliance.
Previously, nearly all of the positions on Apache-operated manned offshore production facilities were outsourced to service committees. With this operational change came the need for training these new employees on required Apache safety procedures and regulatory compliance, as well as setting expectations for these new employees as they become Apache’s “person in charge” (PIC) of a platform.
Joel Plauche, Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) manager of the Gulf of Mexico Shelf Region, said, “The person-in-charge training program was developed to provide our employees with the knowledge of the expectations we have set forth for them, and also to give them the tools to be able to carry out their responsibilities for Apache on production platforms.”
These staffers not only have years of experience working offshore for Apache and other operators, they also have a passion for what they do. Chris Gardiner, lead operator of Eugene Island 158, Area 6, has joined Apache with 12 years of experience in the industry, five of which have been as an offshore contractor for Apache.
“I like that Apache works with a sense of urgency,” Gardiner said, “Apache strives to work more efficiently, which makes things run a lot smoother.”
PIC training provides the knowledge and confidence of support from the mainland. Wade Broussard, regulatory foreman of the Gulf of Mexico Shelf Region, said, “You have to know you are supported by the company. You do not have to accept a bad situation. You can get on the phone and get a resolution.”
More than just covering policies and procedures, time in the training class is taken to focus on and enhance leadership abilities – from setting the tone and the importance of being consistent, to preparing for those intense moments when a hard call needs to be made by the PIC because co-workers rely on his judgment.
Such moments reveal the strength of character, experience and sound judgment that allows the team to stand tall under pressure.
At press time, 160 people had been hired by Apache and completed PIC training, led by Tery Trahan, EH&S training coordinator for the region. This process will continue until Apache has a well-trained company presence on every manned platform in the Gulf.
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