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Vol. 12, No. 3 Week of January 21, 2007
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

KUPARUK ANNIVERSARY: Safety culture has grown over time

Improved worker safety was one subject employees talked about in the 20th anniversary video the company produced in 2001.

• Steve Kruse, talking about his time as a superintendent at CPF-3, said there were no lost-time accidents at the facility the last three years he was there. The facility “went through a major turnaround and I think that was really the most rewarding experience, getting the safety culture, where we weren’t hurting anybody.”

• Richard Sloan, who first saw Kuparuk when he was hired by ARCO in May of 1981, said one of the most fulfilling events he remembers was in 1997 when they took all the vessels down: “It was a major shutdown. We had to take down the primary separators for internal cleanup. … We had a lot of construction people involved and we were really focusing on the safety effort and schedule, of course, because the big vessels were out.”

Everything seemed to “click really well,” Sloan said. “I found it most rewarding, in the sense that all facets — the contract people, the operating people — were all working toward a common objective and … it came off on schedule and without any injuries.”

Sloan said he could remember programs in years past “to entice us to be safe and people would rise to those occasions … but you really didn’t ever hear people talking about it before the jobs.”

People now, he said, “have an expectation that they can do the job safely. I think that’s different.”

“And it wasn’t something that was happening immediately; it wasn’t happening as a focus — in my opinion — of any singular event.”

What happened over time, he said, was a considerable change in perspective.

“I guess I found that rewarding — when the people felt comfortable that they could come forward and I felt like they were engaged in safety, we were successful.”

• Jerry McGarry, who was at Kuparuk with HSE from 2000 to 2006, and is now at the Kenai LNG plant, noted the safety culture in responding to 2006 e-mail questions about working at Kuparuk.

“I think the biggest change was the emphasis on reducing safety and environmentally related incidents — moving to a Zero Incident Culture,” McGarry said. “This effort was supported from top management and permeated the entire work force. The result was a continuous improvement each of the six years I was involved with the Kuparuk asset, an accomplishment to be very proud of.”



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