Teamwork is vital

By Ole Brandt

“A solid team consisting of players, who look out for each other, advise each other, intervene and correct each other when needed, and are there for each other,” he continues. “The teams working together offshore on a day-to-day basis rely heavily on each other to finish their two-week shifts in a safe and healthy manner. For them it is never a question if the job can be done, but whether it can be done safely at all times.”

What personal leadership principles guide you in your role as leader?

“Leadership, especially safety leadership, requires a committed and sustained drive for excellence to attain clear goals, coupled with an authentic presence towards the team and other stakeholders,” Frimpong says adding:

“Every leader wants to get the best out of his/her team. Therefore, in our daily work it is imperative that the team has a clear direction, are sufficiently encouraged and supported to take ownership and then are recognised for their achievements.”

Leading by example

What role does leadership play, and what are the main requirements of leaders from frontline to top management in creating a strong safety culture?

“Any safety culture starts with oneself – leading by example. Good leadership defines the culture of a company, which in turn defines the behaviour of its people. When management is willing to invest in resources, training and knowhow with regards to safety, in due time a company culture based on a safe working environment will be brought about.”

How does one create a corporate atmosphere or culture where safety is understood to be, and is accepted as the number one priority?

“Safety leadership is exemplified by the way management communicates on safety principles and issues builds on and preserves the safety culture within a company. Creating the awareness that safety is everyone’s responsibility enhances the probability that it is understood, implemented and adhered to. It gets an additional boost when the use of so-called accountability systems (i.e. safety management systems) are implemented and when safety targets on all levels are set.

However approached, the power of any message is enhanced by repetition, and so too with messages concerning safety. If you want safety to be the number one priority within your company, you need to keep investing in cultivating that culture.”

Robert Frimpong 2

Working together

The majority of the people working in the oil and gas industry are contractors who come and go. How is it possible to build a strong safety partnership with an ever-changing work crew?

“This is indeed a challenge we face on a day-to day basis. It shows once again that we need to continuously invest time and effort in our safety culture for every one working within the company. Safety awareness, accountability and communication are key. For us this means that everybody, own personnel, contractors and visitors, play his or her part in working in a safe manner.”

What does “Working together,” mean to you?

“Working together means discussing, talking, listening, sharing and deciding together when it comes to all aspects of the work at hand or to be done. In the end, everyone is a contributor to the success of the company, no matter which position he or she holds.”

More influence

Are you at the present working together with colleagues/competitors in the industry and if so, what benefits are you gaining respectively? And can you give us a concrete example or two?

“Within this industry working together is key. When applying for either exploration or production licences we are always looking for partners to share experience, knowledge and best practices with as well as to innovate. Furthermore, when working together we can realise synergies, i.e. by sharing supply vessels or helicopter flights to and from the different offshore platforms.

As an example, most of the operators active on the Dutch continental shelf are members of NOGEPA, the Netherlands Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Association. This forum allows us to address common issues related to operations and safety within our industry. By taking a common approach and the same stance, one has more influence or impact to achieve the desired results. Comparable to Oil & Gas Denmark and Oil & Gas UK, of which we are also a member.”

We rely on each other

Have you picked up some valuable learning points from your colleagues/competitors in the industry and if so, what are they?

“We learn from each other continuously in both good and bad times. Whatever takes place or happens with one colleague or competitor reflects on the others. It is a tightknit industry in which we rely on each other to do better in our projects, our operations and in our engagement with our wider stakeholders. It is just one image we’re all trying to protect and that is the one of the oil and gas industry,” Robert Frimpong says.