Is Safety Key to Working with Big Oil?

David Shallenberger | January 10th, 2013

Do you operate a safe business? Of course you do. But is your safety to the level it needs to be to work with the “Big Oil” companies?

The Utica shale boom has presented tremendous opportunities for businesses, like yours, that can somehow assist in the production of oil and gas. However, dealing with Big Oil is unlike dealing with your typical customer. If you’ve yet to discover this yourself, you need to know how to play by their rules. And the first one you’ll need to comply with is safety.

Safety is Rule #1

If you want to do business with oil and gas, you need to adopt a safety mindset. The oil and gas industry has the utmost concern for safety and it should. If you followed any bit of the Deepwater Horizon Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, you were able to see what can happen when safety issues are overlooked. Not only was Big Oil, BP, directly impacted, but there were catastrophic effects on people, the environment and surrounding businesses. That’s why those in the oil and gas industry stress that you need to put people first, the environment second and production third.

With their strong commitment to safety, Big Oil demands that the businesses they work with put the same focus on safety. Depending on your line of business, you may not have ever considered some of the safety issues that oil and gas companies might ask you about. However, if you want to have a long-term, working relationship with Big Oil, focus on the experience of your employees and your safety plan.

Limit the Number of Green Hats

The oil and gas industry is very concerned about the number of new employees – or green hats – there are on each job site. Why are new employees called green hats? Well, to set them apart from their more experience co-workers, employees with less than six months experience in the oil field wear green hats.  And no more than 25 percent of the workforce on a job site should be wearing those green hats.

Generally, Big Oil requires this same 25 percent rule from any company it does business with on the oil field. This means that you won’t be able to land and service an on-site contract without seasoned employees. So, you probably want to consider your staffing needs before pursuing work in the oil and gas industry.

Develop a Safety Plan

Do you have a safety plan? Before you answer that, it’s important to note that if your safety plan is not well documented in writing, Big Oil will say you don’t have one. You will need to have the proper safety documentation before doing business with these companies. Documentation is not something that can be made up after the fact either – it needs to be contemporaneous to the training.

It would be a real travesty to find your business out of the shale play because of failed or faulty documentation. If you are looking to work in or provide services to the oil and gas industry, you should start thinking and living safety today.

Safety has to be the first thing you think about as you head to work and the last thing you think about as you drive home. Safety it rule number one.

Grow Your Oil & Gas Business

Is your business hoping to benefit from Ohio’s oil and gas boom?  If you’re looking to do business with the industry, you’ve got to know its rules and way of doing business.  Safety is rule #1, but there are many other rules that you might be surprised to learn.  The boom could be a boon to your business – but only if you have someone to guide you.  Rea’s oil and gas specialists help those in the industry and those looking to do business with the industry.  Yes, we provide tax and accounting services, but we also provide business planning and advice.  Contact us to learn more about our Ohio oil and gas services.

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