Beyond Zero: Integrating behaviour-based safety at ORYX GTL - Case Study

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Courtesy of Behavioral Science Technology, Inc. (BST)

Situation

Located in Ras Laffan Industrial City, the ORYX GTL plant is Qatar's first commercial producer to process natural gas into low-sulphur and environmentally friendly diesel, naphtha, and LPG. 32,000 barrels of diesel and 8,000 barrels of naphtha are produced every day at the site. Using a gas-to-liquids refining process, ORYX GTL is able to produce fuel low in sulphur and aromatic content, thereby creating a safer, greener product with minimal carbon impact.

ORYX GTL has strived since it began operations in 2006 to achieve the highest-calibre of safety for its employees, but pre-existing factors made safety improvement a challenge. The absence of centralised HSE legislation in Qatar placed unique demands on senior management and safety practitioners. Although existing laws addressed various aspects of HSE, the need for a robust health and safety regime became increasingly evident to ORYX leaders.

In light of these conditions, Chief Executive Officer Abdulrahman Al-Suwaidi initiated ORYX GTLs safety culture transformation programme, the 'Road to Zero Harm Campaign'. In addition to making a contribution to the development of progressive, centralised HSE legislation, the initiative sought to meet the expectations of the company's employees, shareholders, and other stakeholders, including Qatari society. It started with introducing and embedding at every level of the company the value that 'safety is our way of life'.

Solution

In 2007, ORYX GTL partnered with BST to develop a comprehensive safety improvement process designed to make the company's safety goal of'going beyond zero' a reality. ORYX leaders recognised that they first needed to change behaviours before they could change practices. They created the company-wide change initiative OASIS, short for Observation at Site Improves Safety. This employee-driven, behaviour-based safety programme began training workers as observers, sponsored leadership development for supervisors and managers, and helped cultivate strong communication practices for a high-functioning and well-integrated organisational culture.

Management support was instrumental to the process' success. Leaders made OASIS observations part of every departments key performance indicators (KPI), actively participated in steering committee and barrier-removal team meetings, and visibly showed their commitment to safety with weekly plant walk-throughs. The CEO chairs a quarterly HSE meeting to ensure that all efforts are aligned to support safety.

Every week the HSE manager and direct reports meet to measure progress against a five-year strategy plan. The plan prioritises key elements to advance the safety culture, build employee and contractor confidence, and improve safety systems. In addition, the team goes over a scorecard of leading and lagging indicators that compare KPI performance against goals. When a specific action is found to be falling below expectations, a recovery plan is immediately designed and put into place. The scorecard is a part of a suite of KPIs that link the CEO to all levels of the business.

ORYX GTL employs monthly incentives based on achieving targets in no lost time incidents (LTI), production goals, and OASIS observations during the month. The incentives are the same for both employees and contractors.

Results

The hard work of everyone at ORYX GTL has certainly paid off. In August 2012 the site reached a total recordable incident rate of zero and has maintained it through the time this report was written (March 2014). Across ten categories measuring organisational culture, the plant saw dramatic improvements over its pre-OASIS scores in such areas as leadership, peer support for safety, and upward communication. ORYX GTL currendy has more than 450 trained observers both in the Ras Laffan plant and Doha offices. An average of 800 observations are made on a monthly basis.

As a company, ORYX GTL has embraced the challenge of turning around its safety culture and has undeniably driven it towards excellence—something everyone at ORYX GTL is extremely proud of. Employees are now more willing to take on HSE issues because training, leadership support, and recognition of their contributions have given them the confidence and tools to succeed. Through strong leadership, transparent, well-communicated information, and management dedication to continuous improvement, employees are fully committed to going beyond zero and advancing safety across all of ORYX GTL.

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