11/27/2002 12:00 AM
When it comes to workplace safety, the secret to success is getting the message to the right people. That’s the secret that Weatherford International, Inc., has discovered.
Weatherford International, Inc., a leading oilfield products and services company with about 15,000 employees, is taking a new approach to safety training.
The effort began two years ago when Ronald Cox II, safety manager for Weatherford International in Corpus Christi, attended an OSHA 501 class on OSHA standards for general industry. He returned to Corpus Christi and told the company’s safety director that all of the district managers and safety managers should attend the OSHA 501 training. After all, he pointed out, they are the ones who have the budget to make changes and can enforce the safety regulations.
He called TEEX-OSHA Training Institute Southwest Education Center to schedule the first OSHA contract class for Weatherford International. Nine other classes in four states have followed, and about 250 district managers, supervisors and safety officers have attended the OSHA 501 class, said TEEX-OSHA instructor Jerry Henderson.
“Since we required our managers and District Safety Coordinators to attend the OSHA 501 training program, we have seen a marked improvement in the safety of our facilities,” Cox said. “Before the training, we were asking our managers and safety coordinators to perform a job without tools. Putting them through the class gave our safety staff and managers common ground on which to improve the overall safety of our operations, in addition to giving them a basic knowledge of what was expected of them in regards to regulatory compliance.”
Weatherford is on the right track, Henderson says. “They have grasped the concept that you have to train the right people. Most managers want to do what they need to do to keep employees safe.
“A corporate director with the company told me the training has brought about a paradigm shift in Weatherford’s safety program,” Henderson said. “They targeted the right people. If the district manager is excited about safety, then everyone who works for that manager will be excited about safety.”
“OSHA 501 has definitely been an eye-opening experience for our managers and supervisors,” says Foy K. Beshears of Oklahoma City, QHSE (Quality, Health, Safety and Environmental) Supervisor of the Central U.S. Business Unit for Weatherford International. “It not only helped to educate us, but gave us the ability to look up most of our safety and health-related questions.
“This course added credibility to what we as safety professionals in our company have been trying to get across to our employees. It has opened a door of communication for us because our employees see that we are in this together as a group and we as HSE personnel are there to help, not to add to the burden,” Beshears added.
“The 501 instructor plays a tremendous role in this process,” Beshears said. “Jerry Henderson is one of the best. That’s why we keep bringing him back to talk to our employees.”