‘We don’t just promote the culture of safety, it’s a way of life’, VP RusselSmith

RusselSmith Group

It has been said all over that one of the best ways to achieve an accident-free workplace, where everyone goes to work and return home to family in one piece, is to have a professional safety manager conduct the Occupational Health and Safety affairs of the organisation and report directly to top management.

For indigenous oilfield services firm, RusselSmith, the foundation of any successful workplace safety effort is one that encourages employees to identify unsafe behaviours and opportunities for improvement while also making well-informed safety decisions during daily routine tasks.

The company has adopted a slightly different approach to safety while racking up an impressive assortment of health and safety awards and recognition, which it attributes to its exceptional safety performance mantra: ‘everybody is responsible for safety’ policy. And this has fostered a high sense of commitment towards safety at all levels within the organization.

Spurred by the belief that a chain is only as strong as the weakest link, the company has invested heavily in communication and training in a most unique and interesting way to cut across diverse cadre. This commitment to building a winning team has turned out to be, perhaps, the company’s best investment.

In its over 12 years of operations in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, RusselSmith has recorded over 3.5million man-hours with no loss time incidents (LTI), no restricted work case and no fatality.

The oil services firm, in all its years of operations, has gradually and consistently entrenched safety as a way of life in its processes and interactions with stakeholders, at all locations where it operates.

In recognition of its compliance to keeping to safety standards in the oil and gas industry, it was awarded ‘Company of the Year’ at the just concluded Nigerian Safety Award for Excellence Hall of Fame held in Lagos.

Speaking on the recognition, Senior Executive Vice President of the company, Kayode Adeleke, said, “We are more humbled than anything else receiving the 9JaSAFE Award. We don’t just promote the culture of safety for the sake of it. For us, it is a way of life because, it saves lives.

“When it comes to safety, you don’t get a second chance, so we are ethically disciplined about promoting that culture of safety. We have a programme called, Safety Quest 24/7. It means that you have to practice safety all day, every day; it doesn’t matter whether you’re at home or at work,” he added.

Another milestone achieved by the company is its recognition as the ‘Most Innovative and Safety Conscious Company’ in West Africa at the recently held West Africa Innovation Awards, 2017.

Other awardees include, Cadbury Nigeria, Vanguard Assurance (Ghana), Zenith Pensions Custodian, Big and Bold Nigeria, Elixir (Sierra Leone), Axis Pensions (Ghana), Halogen Security among others.

The company, which started off with the introduction of Rope Access solutions, has now diversified into three main business divisions: Aerial Inspection and Survey Services, Topside Asset Integrity Management Services and Subsea Asset Integrity Management Services.

This expansion Adeleke explained was made possible with the company’s resilient drive to keep being innovative and safety conscious with the establishment of smart protocols to minimize the dangers to personnel and prevent catastrophes.

The company’s three HSE programmes — Safety Quest 24/7, Green Eye Vision, and Health 3600 reloaded give a holistic approach to safety, as everyone is actively involved in the process of safety and innovation.

With compliance to safety regulation being a major challenge facing most Nigerian orgaisations such a sterling safety track record, as recorded by RusselSmith is rare and not at all indicative of the way the average energy organization operatives, thrives on education.

Every week, precisely Tuesday, it is mandatory that all staff members attend a safety management meeting. This is a requirement that has become a key part of everyone’s performance appraisal, and goes a long way to determine a staff member’s status in the organization.

Recognising environment safety as critical part of HSE programme, the oil company, through its Green Eye Vision Programme, initiated to protect the environment monitors paper usage in the organisation, hence considering the impact of paper usage on trees.

According to Adeleke, printing of paper documents has been reduced to the barest minimum, as an automated system was introduced to ensure that documents are circulated via electronic channels as alerts and emails. Also, approvals are done on the web-based portal, cutting out the herculean task of printing large documents.

Another environmental initiative embarked upon by the company is the recycling of plastic materials. The oil firm entered into a partnership with award-winning waste management company, RecycleNG, to help promote the initiative.

Consumption of fossil fuels is equally monitored by the company as another environmental initiative to reduce emission of harmful gases into the environment, while promoting the use of alternative energy such as solar power. The organization is working towards greater energy self-sufficiency, by adopting solar energy for its facilities and reducing dependence on the national grid.

For operating without any recordable incident throughout the year 2016, RusselSmith in addition to the safety accolades received, was recognised with an award by a major client, Chevron Nigeria. All of these efforts have led to numerous improvements in service and quality control processes. It has helped in creating more value-added oilfield/pipeline service solutions for the company’s expanding customer base.

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