Low Oil Prices: How to Maintain Safety & Worker Morale
Oil prices are at a multi-year low and companies in the oil industry are doing their best to control expenses and maintain business continuity. Although cuts are being made in many areas to reduce costs, worker and plant safety should still be a top priority.
When safety incidents happen, not only does it impact the workers and structures at that particular site, it hurts the company’s profitability because of the costs associated with repairing and managing the incident. Here are 5 ways to ensure that your sites continue operating safely and securely during a period of low oil prices, while controlling costs.
1. Lease Equipment, Instead of Buying
Safety and emergency services equipment can be both expensive to purchase and maintain, often requiring dedicated resources for cleaning, storing and testing the equipment. If you need additional equipment right now, consider leasing it instead. This helps your cash flow by not requiring a large outlay of cash, and saves you on-going maintenance cost because that will be the responsibility of the vendor.
2. Use A Third Party Vendor Instead of Company Team
Rather than having a dedicated in-house emergency response team, using a specialized vendor may offer more flexibility. A vendor can take care of everything from training personnel to providing equipment. In addition, you can hire the vendor based on when you actually need them, compared to employing staff at all times.
3. Take Time to Do a Turnaround/Shut Down
A low-activity period is a great time to plan a turnaround or shut down period. When sites aren’t at full capacity, you can have a shut-down or turnaround without worrying about opportunity costs. If you aren’t in a rush, you can take the time to do a thorough maintenance and cleaning that you may not have the opportunity to do when you were in a rush when oil prices were much higher.
4. Take Care of Employees Who Are Still With You
The high number of layoffs in the the oil industry have impacted the employees who were let go, but it’s also taken a toll on employees who kept their jobs. Workers who remain with the company may feel low morale, guilt or stress that they will be let go next. It’s important to help workers manage this emotional and psychological stress, such as with support hotlines or by making workers feel that they are valued.
5. Ensure Safety Checks Are Still In Place
Although sites are no longer operating at the same capacity as when oil prices were higher, it’s still critical to maintain the same safety and procedural checks. This is important to protect your employees and your site and to prevent incidents; being fined, facing negative PR or having to replace equipment/structures would really hurt your company profitability and image.
The current period of low oil prices has been challenging for the entire industry, but if the industry bands together we can use this period to evolve as a team. If you need help with emergency response services or safety training at your oil and gas sites, contact us today for a free quote.