The National Energy Board, the Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board, and Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board put safety and environmental protection at the forefront of their responsibilities in protecting Canadians by taking a leadership role to improve awareness and drive fundamental change when and where it is needed.
Safety Culture is an emerging discipline in the oil and gas sector that requires greater understanding and consideration. The draft Safety Culture definition and framework are intended to promote learning and shared understanding of the concept of Safety Culture. It is also articulates the expectation that companies regulated by the NEB should build and maintain a positive Safety Culture while remaining vigilant to potential threats.
The following questions and answers have been created to answer common questions Canadians may have around the topic of Safety Culture and the National Energy Board’s role it its advancement among the oil and gas industry.
1. How does the Board define Safety Culture?
Safety Culture may be defined as the attitudes, values, norms and beliefs that a particular group of people shares with respect to risk and safety.
2. Why is establishing an effective and well-implemented Safety Culture important?
Culture influences almost everything including what people see, hear, feel and say. Perhaps most importantly, it influences the decisions and actions of people in an organization. These behaviours ultimately drive safety outcomes and company performance.
A strong Safety Culture and well implemented management systems provide additional layers of protection against catastrophic accidents. A strong Safety Culture equals safer operations.
3. Why was this draft framework developed?
Safety Culture frameworks serve to simplify and communicate a complex concept by breaking it down into distinct dimensions in order to support its understanding and assessment.
This body of work was created to promote learning and a shared understanding of the emerging discipline of Safety Culture across the oil and gas sector in Canada. It is also intended to express the Board’s expectations of regulated companies to build and sustain a positive Safety Culture. A strong Safety Culture also sets companies up to scrutinize their operations for potential cultural threats.
4. Why was the Draft Safety Culture Framework developed jointly between regulators?
The NEB, the Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board, and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board worked together to propose a common draft Safety Culture definition and a framework. As federal regulators of the oil and gas industry it was considered important to have consistent expectations of regulated companies when it came to Safety Culture.
5. What role does the NEB expect industry executives and senior management to play in developing a strong Safety Culture?
Leadership is key to establishing, fostering and instilling a healthy Safety Culture. The attitudes of executive and senior management, their actions and decisions serve to shape corporate culture.
The NEB expects executives and senior management to lead by example in the development of a strong Safety Culture and put safety first, before the bottom line. They must also empower and reward their employees for making safe decisions and taking action to stop unsafe practices, even if they have committed an error or introduced a threat themselves.
6. Did the NEB begin developing the Draft Safety Culture Framework as a result of the recent Senate Committee report on the safe transport of hydrocarbons?
No. The Board began exploring how to advance Safety Culture in the oil and gas industry back in 2011. Since that time, the NEB has consulted extensively with international experts on the topic of Safety Culture, including Dr. Mark Fleming from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax in order to gain a fuller understanding of what a healthy Safety Culture looks like in practice.
The NEB is supportive of the recommendations made in the recent Senate Committee report, as they relate to the NEB. As a part of our commitment to continual improvement, the Board welcomes any information or recommendations that will help to improve pipeline safety in Canada.
The Senate Committee’s recommendations confirm and support actions the NEB is already taking regarding:
Last month, the NEB released its report on the Safety Forum it held in June 2013. In it, the NEB committed to concrete actions it will take in order to move industry, and itself, forward in achieving the goal of zero incidents. This includes:
With the release of the Draft Safety Culture Definition and Framework, the Board is delivering on this first commitment.
7. What participation is the Board seeking from Canadians and industry?
The NEB invites both the public and industry to provide comments or seek clarifications on the Draft Safety Culture Definition and Framework. Comments and questions may be submitted to the NEB until 30 January 2014 using the following methods: