A key aspect of an effective Pipeline Safety Management System (PSMS) is gathering feedback from stakeholders (employees and contractors) who work directly on pipelines to help with collecting and managing safety observation reporting.
However, the historical challenge is that observed issues have not been acted upon. Why? Operators have lacked a structured system to (1) collect the feedback, (2) analyze the observations, (3) investigate and prioritize the observations, and (4) incorporate associated corrective actions into operations. The use of digital tools as part of a dedicated program makes addressing these challenges manageable, resulting in a feedback program that supports safety improvements.
Our pSEc software tool supports a SOAR (Safety Observation and Reporting) program through collaborative communication, information exchange with stakeholders, and continuous improvement. Let’s take a closer look at how this works.
Advance from Notifications to Effective Communication
Traditionally, operators have received information about safety issues through a number of disparate channels, limited to notifications with no means of structured information exchange.
For example, a contractor will make a suggestion about an observed safety issue during excavation, but there is no methodology in place to analyze, prioritize, investigate, and develop associated corrective actions. And, there is no mechanism to officially communicate these corrective actions to the affected parties.
Through the use of digital tools, operators can manage the accountability of feedback exchange and route the feedback as required. Then, operators can take the appropriate steps to act upon the information reported by each stakeholder and drive toward positive safety outcomes:
- Assign parties to respond to each submission (create accountability).
- Follow up on the information that is submitted (build feedback loops).
- Incorporate the feedback into pipeline operations (support process improvements).
- Track the results of each initiated change (measure the activity).
Think of this as turning the suggestion box approach into a digitized version of information exchange that keeps the person who initiated the suggestion engaged by communicating the status of the resolution.
How We Set up a Digital Safety Communication Program
When we work with pipeline operators to implement a SOAR program, each observation is categorized to allow structured data analysis and prioritization within each category. Consider these examples:
- Near misses (what nearly caused an incident?)
- Stop the job (what led to a job being temporarily shut down?)
- Hazard reporting (what could cause an incident if not dealt with?)
pSEc provides an easy-to-use mobile platform to facilitate the collection of feedback directly from employees and contractors that work on pipelines. With pSEc, each observation can be flagged according to the type of asset as well as the location. This allows for the aggregation of observations to support the identification of common issues and/or issues consistent with specific asset types and/or locations. This is the first step.
To ensure the success of this type of program, the operator’s policy MUST ensure that the individuals making the observations are not at risk of punitive actions against them.
Following the submission of the observation, the person assigned accountability for the analysis of said observation may then follow up with the submitter, as required, to gain additional insight into the situation that may pose a safety issue. Utilizing this approach engages stakeholders, which ensures the following:
- They know their input is valuable.
- They know that someone is actually following up on what they observed.
- They know they are making a difference in pipeline safety.
- They know their submission is not going into a black hole where no one sees the issue and follows up,
Over time, an effective SOAR program will encourage more stakeholders to submit observations that will benefit the safety of your operation because the feedback is coming directly from the employees and contractors with boots on the ground, closest to any potential safety issues.
Identifying and implementing corrective actions will drive continuous improvement on the path to zero safety incidents, progressively improve your pipeline safety culture and your Pipeline SMS will become more effective.
Let’s Advance Your Safety Observation Reporting Capabilities
To improve safety outcomes, operators need to have a mechanism in place that engages those stakeholders – both employees and contractors – who have actual knowledge of operations. P.I. Confluence can help in this area. Our subject matter experts can assess the following aspects:
- Are stakeholders currently making observations? If so, how?
- Are these observations being assigned to an accountable party for analysis and prioritization?
- Are these observations considered systemic or localized issues?
- Is there a process for the identification of the root causes and subsequent corrective actions?
- Are the corrective actions being implemented and communicated to the affected parties?
As part of our assessment, we will demonstrate how the implementation of our configurable pSEc mobile platform will enhance your safety culture and goal of zero incidents.
– Contact us today to schedule a consultation about your current approach to gathering stakeholder feedback and safety observation reporting. Let’s look for opportunities to build an effective SOAR program backed by pSEc. We are confident that we can help make your pipelines safer.