Industry is advancing a safety culture based on a strong foundation of leadership and continuous improvement.
The health and safety of employees, contractors, the public and the communities where we operate is a priority for Canada’s natural gas industry.
Hard working employees and contractors ensure natural gas is developed safely so it can be delivered to Canadians. Protecting workers and keeping them safe is imperative. Our industry recognizes that when it comes to safety, we don’t compete – we cooperate – with each other, as well as with other industries, governments, regulators, communities and the general public.
Safety excellence is achieved through a number of long-established practices:
- International best practices – our industry draws upon the global expertise of some of the most recognized and respected minds in the world, focused on developing innovative technologies to address some of our industry’s critical challenges. Best practices are developed collaboratively and lessons learned are shared collectively.
- Regulations – Provincial and federal regulators are in place to ensure the safe and environmentally responsible development of Canada’s natural gas resources over their entire life cycle. Comprehensive regulations and requirements are designed to maximize safety during the exploration and production of natural gas. Regulators play a key role in assuring safety.
- Leadership and Safety Culture - We are advancing a safety culture throughout our industry based on a strong foundation of leadership and continuous improvement. Many companies conduct Safety Stand Downs [link to ENFORM Safety Stand Down website] and company executives and senior managers regularly visit frontline workers at facilities to talk about safety issues.
- Operational integrity – at the operational and corporate level it is important that everyone understands how various systems, processes and equipment work together to assure the safety of our people. This is achieved through strong corporate policy and integrated management systems that are founded on principles of continuous improvement.
- Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment Programs – Identification of hazards, risk assessment and the development, implementation and monitoring of controls is a critical process that supports the safety of people and the environment. The natural gas industry is committed to the effective management of workplace hazards, and will eliminate hazards where practicable.
- Emergency Response Programs and Plans – The natural gas industry develops detailed emergency response plans and these plans are reviewed and approved by our regulators. First responders, municipalities and effected stakeholders are consulted in the development of a plan. Once approved, a plan must be tested by way of drills and exercises, and will be updated as part of continual improvement processes. The natural gas industry is committed to ensuring emergency response plans are available to parties with a legitimate interest and need, and these can be accessed by contacting company representatives. Please note that portions of a plan may be unavailable where there is information that cannot be disclosed.
- Training and Competency – Providing training to workers on a regular basis ensures everyone understands common risks and how to manage and reduce these risks and to keep workers safe. Canada’s natural gas industry works closely with ENFORM, an independent organization dedicated to safety that develops industry-recommended safety best practices and provides safety training. The competency of workers is a critical consideration to ensure worker safety during the exploration and production of natural gas.
- Auditing and Compliance - Company management systems may be aligned to a range of national and international standards, as well as provincial and federal regulatory requirements. Companies and regulators audit regularly to verify compliance with safety programs, standards and regulatory requirements. Audit programs and certifications are useful tools for verifying that systems are working and for identifying opportunities for improvement.
Safety in offshore operations
The offshore energy industry in Atlantic Canada operates in a challenging environment. The remoteness of offshore workplaces, transportation to and from offshore facilities and harsh weather conditions are additional complexities that make working offshore a challenge.
Our industry is guided by comprehensive health and safety plans, which are developed by operators and submitted to regulators before any activity is approved. The Canada-Nova Scotia and Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Boards audit company health and safety programs and regularly inspect offshore work locations. The Boards have the authority to shut down operations if there are safety concerns.