Parker Drilling Sails to Safety

Few would argue that a company that provides onshore and offshore contract drilling probably has its share of safety challenges. Employees of Parker Drilling Co. are spread out at multiple locations around the world, in sometimes challenging environments, on a land fleet of 28 rigs in 12 countries and an offshore fleet of 18 barge rigs in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Caspian Sea and Mexico.

“The nature of oil and gas drilling presents a variety of challenges to working safely,” said Robert L. Parker Jr., chairman and CEO of Parker Drilling Co. “However, these challenges are made even more complex when considering Parker's history of participating in emerging international oil and gas markets through the drill bit and training of local citizens. Language differences and training new employees with no previous industry experience from a myriad of local cultures add to the barriers we must overcome.”

To overcome some of those challenges and barriers, Parker Drilling provides all employees with a full curriculum of HSE safety and technical training by American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) certified instructors. Due to the remoteness of a majority of its drilling sites, Parker understands the importance of fire safety and training on drilling sites and has taken it to the next level by creating a Fire Prevention and Control School in New Iberia, La. The campus includes full-scale burnable props, full-scale replicas of a drilling rig, mud pits, doghouse and living quarters, on-site classrooms and first aid facilities. During the 3-day program, students alternate classroom instruction with live fire situations including:

  • Rig fire fighting
  • Mud systems fires, flange fires and spill fires
  • Incident command system
  • Classification of fires
  • Strategy and tactics of rig fire fighting
  • Derrick rescue
  • Confined space rescue

“Our experienced staff of instructors includes a combination of instructors from Parker Drilling's training facility and seasoned career firefighters,” sayd Lisa Ressling, a senior document control specialist with the company. “Typically, we encourage a group that works together to attend the program together, thus building on and enhancing an already established team.”

Other elements that set the Parker Drilling occupational safety and health program apart from the pack include:

SAIL — Any safety action item identified as a result of safety meetings, alerts, job safety analysis, exercises/drills, the STOP program, incident reporting, hazard reports, inspections or other means are placed on the Safety Action Item List (SAIL). The SAIL process ensures that safety-related issues and actions are identified, addressed and brought to closure. Some rigs have a SAIL coordinator, while others have the rig quality assurance/health, safety and environment coordinator manage the process.

BPT — The Best Practices Team (BPT) provides concensus-based guidance and changes management controls in order to develop and implement improved policies and procedures. The BST serves as the clearinghouse for incorporating new and modified policies and procedures, which can come from field submittals, industry best practices or research conducted by BST members on a specific application or technique that could benefit Parker Drilling operations.

PDC Strike Team — Senior management has the option of deploying a multi-disciplined team of senior operations and HSE staff to assist management at local facilities to assess and mitigate problematic conditions and inefficiencies associated with increases in injuries, illnesses, property damage, downtime, customer dissatisfaction, pollution or high-potential near misses.

The strike team visit typically includes review of operations and EHS activities relevant to the facility's local management processes and, in particular: risk assessment, job safety analysis, hiring practices, employee morale and motivation, employee training and competency, safe operational procedures, maintenance and inspection, health and hygiene, management of change, emergency response, incident reporting and investigation, personal protective equipment, medical treatment procedures, housekeeping, security, pollution prevention and hazard hunts and equipment inspections.

Thanks to these and other programs and processes, “Parker Drilling maintains one of the lowest recordable incident rates in the industry, reporting the lowest rate in 2005 among members of the International Association of Drilling Contractors and improving on this rate in 2006,” said Parker.

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