Fostering a Culture of Safety
Chesapeake’s success is built on our strong safety culture, fueled by our employees’ unwavering commitment to protecting our people and the environment. In 2018 our employee TRIR was 0.23 – a top rate among our peers – and we achieved 287 days without an employee recordable injury.
Equipping Employees to Make Safe Decisions
Creating an incident-free work environment starts with setting clear expectations among employees, contractors and suppliers regarding our safety standards, and working to equip these individuals with the skills necessary to promote safety in their areas of work.
The foundation of our safety training efforts is our Stay Accident Free Every Day (S.A.F.E.) program, which encourages all workers on our locations to take personal responsibility for their safety and the safety of those around them. This behavior-based program addresses the activities that can often lead to safety incidents and encourages actions that create safe work sites and a safe corporate campus.
Ensuring that everyone goes home safely every day requires ownership from all employees, and a commitment to continuous improvement from our organization.
Reflecting this commitment, we solicited feedback from our field employees about improving our safety training program. As a result of listening and learning, we recognized that our traditional classroom approach to field safety training was not driving the level of employee ownership we hoped to achieve, even though the training structure met our internal and external requirements.
To address this, we developed and piloted a new format for HSE meetings in our Pennsylvania and Wyoming offices. Under this format all HSE meetings take place on-site at drilling or production locations. Also, each meeting is led by foremen or superintendents, with support from HSE staff. These changes allow for more hands-on training and live reenactments of incidents, while reinforcing the ownership necessary for those employees with the most exposure to the potential hazards of our business. As these programs continue to develop, we will implement them across the company.
Key to our safety training program is tailoring safety conversations to the specific location and work at-hand. Through our industrial hygiene initiative, we conduct exposure assessments to identify chemical, physical and biological stressors that may impact employee health while on a jobsite. Through the program, we pinpoint potential hazards and develop proactive, situational plans and trainings to best protect our employees.
With a similar goal of anticipating and mitigating potential hazards, Chesapeake also performs job safety analyses (JSA) for company projects. Each JSA documents potential hazards and requires mitigation if a hazard is identified. Before employees or company representatives begin a job, they attend a safety meeting during which they review the JSA.
Once trained, we offer further safeguarding of our employees, particularly those who may spend their shifts working independently on remote sites. By wearing a personal monitor connected to the company’s in-vehicle monitoring system (IVMS), individuals in the field can receive faster response should they experience an emergency. The monitor tracks personal movements, alerting other team members if an employee is immobile for a period of time, and enables two-way communication if help is needed.
We recognize that one of the most dangerous things our employees do every day is get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Because of this, we are focused on always working harder to educate our employees and reinforce a safe driving performance. We work to improve driver safety through three programs: driver education; driver monitoring; and safe driver recognition.
Chesapeake’s drivers participate in four online and classroom courses, including the Smith Driving System Program, which offers hands-on driving training common in driver’s education and defensive driving curriculum. Armed with this training, employees begin to acquire consistent habits that help prevent accidents. In field offices where extreme weather is more likely, we offer employees simulator training where they can experience driving on ice, in the snow and rain, and receive notes to improve their inclement weather driving.
Through our IVMS, we are able to track employee driving habits and identify safety concerns. Employees are alerted when they speed, accelerate too fast or brake suddenly, and supervisors review reports of their employees’ driving behavior on a regular basis. The data gathered by this system is used to provide an IVMS rate as a leading indicator. The IVMS rate allows the company to monitor improvement in driving habits which can contribute to a reduction in motor vehicle incidents.
As further incentive to encourage safe driving habits, we also host a recognition program — the 100% Club — available to drivers assigned to a fleet vehicle. Through this program, drivers receive recognition points for reaching mileage milestones without triggering an IVMS alert. Recognition points may be exchanged for prizes, with the ultimate reward being the opportunity to purchase a fleet vehicle at a 50% discount. In 2018, approximately two-thirds of our total fleet drivers were recognized through this program.
Improving Corporate Campus Safety
Our corporate campus employees also remain dedicated to expanding their safety awareness and responsibility by participating in both a campus-specific training program and our Good Catch initiative. Through targeted communications, we apply safety to the corporate environment, focusing on behavior often caused by distraction or lack of safety knowledge.
In addition to providing corporate employees with tangible safety tips and a dedicated campus safety page on our intranet, we review our corporate campus to suggest safety design improvements. Past safety improvements have included installing speed bumps in parking garages, increasing signage around pedestrian walkways and reconfiguring the walking and parking areas near our Child Development Center. We also have a floor warden emergency response program in which designated employees facilitate emergency evacuations and cascade safety messages to their co-workers.
Another safety awareness program that occurs on our corporate campus but broadcasts to all employees is our quarterly Safety Town Hall meetings. During these hour-long sessions, operational professionals share their personal safety experiences, as well as lessons learned through their job functions. Each meeting has a theme relevant to a particular safety need at the time, such as weather-related injuries or trends recognized through Good Catch analysis. Employees who are not able to attend these meetings in person can watch a recording on our intranet.
Applying Our Uncompromising Safety Standard to Everyone
We recognize that safety depends on everyone at our work sites. For this reason, and to further our commitment to providing a safe work environment, we facilitate a comprehensive contractor safety management program.
Our uncompromising safety standard begins at the hiring process. From the start of a relationship with Chesapeake, contractors must pass a qualification process including an evaluation of each potential contractor’s safety and environmental record. Before approval, the prospective contractor must also agree to abide by Chesapeake’s Supplier Code of Conduct, committing to honor our core values and provide a safe and healthy workplace for all employees.
Once approved, Chesapeake contractors must complete both an industry orientation course and a Chesapeake-specific safety orientation before they arrive at a company location. The orientation sets clear safety expectations in accordance with SafeLandUSA™ industry-standard safety guidelines, which establish minimum requirements for HSE practices. Volunteers from major and independent operating companies, industry associations and educators developed the SafeLandUSA™ guidelines specifically for the U.S. onshore exploration and production industry.
Each year we review and revise this orientation for accuracy in methodology and compliance with new regulations. We also regularly review our contractor safety handbook, which outlines the basic safety and environmental requirements that all personnel must follow when working on our locations. This handbook sets the minimum expectations for acceptable work activity and reiterates an employee or contractor’s responsibility to stop work that is believed to be unsafe or that could lead to environmental impact.
To further emphasize our commitment to safety, we host quarterly contractor safety meetings. During these meetings, our Operations staff tailors safety discussions to the individual geographies where contractors are working, as different regions may have different safety-related concerns. As an additional step, we conduct contractor assessments in the field. These assessments, coordinated with our HSER audit team, confirm that our contractors are reporting their safety performance accurately.
Partnering for a Safe Industry
Chesapeake partners with several industry trade organizations to share key safety learnings with our peers. While we may compete in the marketplace, we are united in keeping our employees, partners and neighbors safe. Chesapeake is involved in safety-related committees within the American Exploration & Production Council (AXPC) and the American Petroleum Institute, and participates in the American Society of Safety Professionals, SafeLandUSA™ and the National Safety Council.
We also engage on a local level. For example, we partner with the South Texas Exploration and Production Safety Network (STEPS) in promoting safety, health and environmental improvements across the industry in South Texas, as well as with the Mid-Continent Exploration and Production Safety (MCEPS) Network which plays a similar role in Oklahoma.