2008: Our Year in Safety
After nearly 3 million feet drilled without an injury related incident, 23 drilling and well servicing rig safety inspections and no reported major spills throughout the year, it's fair to say that in 2008 HighMount continued on their path of an ongoing commitment to workplace safety.
But this won't come as a surprise to many within the organization, as HighMount has placed considerable emphasis on workplace safety.
To date, HighMount's incident rate is 50% less than that of industry peers and less than 25% of the industry as a whole - a tremendous feat not ignored by the National Safety Council. In May of 2008, the organization recognized HighMount's Tuscaloosa and Sonora offices with Perfect Record Awards, awards given to a company that has operated continuously without the occurrence of occupational injury or illness involving days away from work or death for a period of at least 12 consecutive months.
HighMount Manager of Regional Production Operations, Ray Barnhart, says that the secret is in being proactive. "Per our master service agreement, HighMount will not employ contractors who refuse to operate safely."
Adds Eastern Vice President, Scott Carrasco, "Our focus is to ensure that HighMount employees and contractors perform all work efforts in a way that utilizes the highest safety protocol. We accept nothing less."
Without question this means that the drilling team as well as HighMount contractors must attend daily safety meetings and wear personal protection equipment, but that's just the beginning.
"We emphasize safety in everything," explains Safety Advisor, Larry Jones. A large part of ensuring workplace safety comes in the form of drilling rig inspections. Twice each year, HighMount reaches out to a third party to conduct the inspections in an effort to educate contractors and provide them with the information they need to make improvements without having to spend an exorbitant amount of money.
During the inspections, the third party vendors take an intense look at the physical condition and maintenance of the drilling rig in addition to the various ways in which drilling rig operators engage in safety and environmental precautions.
"We're not trying to make them look bad, we just want them to operate as safely as possible," Barnhart explains.
So after a year of extraordinary safety accomplishments, what does 2009 hold for HighMount?
For Jones, the answer is simple, "We just seek to maintain our commitment to workplace safety."
Safety & Regulatory Environmental Director, Tray Taylor concurs. "HighMount has the unique ability to listen to the lessons learned by employees as well as contractors and incorporate this information into our safety practices. This is an integral part of our safety program as it instills ownership and pride in our safety team just by knowing that they, as individuals can make a difference in our program. Everyone should have a commitment to safety."
Chief Operating Officer, Jim Abercrombie voices the same sentiment, "The safety of our people and our facilities is our first priority and goal and quite simply will not be compromised. Safety is not just an activity we are required to do, it is a philosophy we fully believe in, and are committed to. That belief and commitment in safety is a fundamental concept in our pursuit to be the finest natural gas company in the North America."