Seplat urges investment in research, development for safe practices

SEPLAT CEO, Austin Avuru

Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, has urged public and private sector operators to invest more in research and development aimed at promoting safety.

The oil company noted that such investments should cut across the different sectors of the economy as is the case for the oil/gas and aviation sectors, among others.

The Operations Director of the company, Effiong Okon, said this at the Nigeria Professional Development Conference and Exhibition in Lagos recently, organised by the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), Nigerian Chapter, according to a statement from the firm. The event was themed: Sustainable Safety for National Development.

According to Okon, safety is at the forefront of Seplat’s activities, which has enabled it to conduct all its activities across the country with minimal footprint.

“We approach safety using the people, environment, asset and reputation model incorporated in our ‘safety first’ policy. We only execute projects that promote continuous reduction of environmental impact in our operations,” he said.

He added: “We track offshoots from our operations and strive to reduce adverse effects from our facilities. Our internal use of gas flared reduced by over 95 per cent between 2011 and 2017.

“Seplat has incorporated key programmes across all its facilities to achieve flares out by 2020 in line with keeping the environment safe. We comply with all regulatory requirements and benchmark our performance with international standards.”

Okon said the company has seen continuous decline in safety incidents over the years and would continue to deploy safety training and coaching to hone safety consciousness and skills of its local contractors.

Progressively managing challenges around establishment of support infrastructure for safety management, he noted, remained a priority to the company, adding that: “Since the taking over of our current assets, third-party interference on Seplat’s infrastructure had been significantly minimised.”

He said there is the need to develop safety leadership that can change the safety culture of the various sectors of the economy, advocating that safety be included as part of management meetings.

He added: “We must entrench the use of safety indicators that can help shape safety culture and put in place a strong reward and recognition system for safety initiatives and achievements with game-changing results.

“Professional associations should also drive and monitor developments and implementations of safety standards, as stakeholders build an independent statutory compliance system driven by love for safety.”

The Seplat’s operations director listed the drivers of accidents to include: absence of safety culture; lack of contingency planning in the event of a catastrophe; design flaws, compounded by human errors, poor training and a lax attitude towards safety often lead to major safety incidents; use of substandard materials to cut costs which compromises both quality and safety, among others.

At the conference, which had major players and regulators in the oil/gas, manufacturing, logistics and aviation sectors, among others, Seplat was presented with the ASSP Safety Award for Excellence.

Earlier, the President, ASSP Nigerian Chapter, Daniel Osadiaye, said the body is actively committed to ensuring that all work together for a safer work environment. “We do this by raising safety awareness and equipping professionals with relevant information and opportunities to grow their competencies relevant to achieving safety goals.

Also the ASSP Global President, Rixio Medina, was quoted as saying that: “We believe this event will continue to be great value to business leaders, government officials and safety practitioners throughout the region.”

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