At Devon, we encourage everyone to take the time and steps necessary to perform work safely.
Our top priority is to maintain the health and safety of our employees, our contractors and the public.
Working safely is the right thing to do
We want everyone who works for Devon to go home safely to their loved ones after work each day. In the field, we share our expectations and care by telling everyone who works for us, “When you cross the cattle guard, you’re on our team.”
We believe exemplary safety performance is essential to fulfilling our business goals and stakeholder expectations. Leaders, employees and contractors alike are expected to actively participate in continuous improvement and make Devon a safe place to work. Our Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Philosophy outlines 10 guiding principles such as compliance and job competency that we integrate into decisions affecting our operations. Employees and contractors are accountable for fully implementing the EHS Philosophy, and we encourage all stakeholders to express any concerns about health or safety. Everyone who works for Devon is expected to comply with all applicable safety laws, regulations, policies and protocols and to apply sound judgment at all times.
Building a strong safety culture
Our safety governance structure provides senior-level oversight for policies and performance, while empowering our workforce to take the time necessary to perform work safely and stop work if they see a safety risk. Devon’s senior vice president of exploration and production is accountable for Devon’s safety performance, and our EHS Council closely monitors safety performance and reports on progress to the executive committee as needed.
Our EHS Council sets safety strategy and ensures implementation to continuously improve our safety systems. Council members include managers and professionals from our EHS, operations and business unit teams. Utilizing performance and process improvement ideas from people at all levels of the company, the council is developing a multi-year roadmap with 14 elements needed to build a strong EHS/ESG culture. The council streamlined or eliminated numerous processes to give Devon leaders more time to spend in the field and sharpened the business focus to identify and implement safety controls. In addition, the council directed our shift in emphasis from lagging indicators like the total recordable incident rate (TRIR) to prevention-oriented leading indicators. In 2019, our corporate safety goals are focused on effectively sharing learnings from significant incidents or fatalities (SIF) and completing incident investigations more efficiently.
We give our employees the training and tools they need to perform safely and effectively.
Instilling our safety culture from Day 1
Starting on each employee’s first day on the job, and continuing throughout their careers, employees are continually reminded about Devon’s safety culture. During new-hire orientation, employees learn the action-oriented behaviors for workplace safety they’ll be expected to demonstrate: visible commitment, accountability, anticipation, participation, recognition and communication. We incorporate these attributes into the employee appraisal process.
One of our guiding principles is to give employees training and tools to ensure they can implement our EHS Philosophy and perform their jobs effectively. Devon employees complete a survey each year that determines what safety training they require, based on their job tasks, with an emphasis on the quality of training rather than the quantity. We offer safety-related training online for office employees and onsite for field employees. All employees must complete a field safety briefing or orientation if they work in or visit field locations. Our training emphasizes our requirement to immediately report any incident or near-miss event and to be accountable for our own and others’ safety.
Appealing to ‘Hearts and Minds’
In 2018, we expanded our leadership-focused Hearts and Minds workshop that drives home why safety is important to Devon. The workshop covers topics such as safety culture, stop work for safety, communication, continuous improvement, integrity and situational awareness. While it was originally offered to a small subset of contract field leaders in our drilling group, in 2018 more than 300 Devon leaders in all fields, as well as contract drilling and completion crews and construction contractors, also participated in Hearts and Minds. In 2019, we have two full-time trainers dedicated to the workshop, and we’re offering it to all personnel at the level of assistant foreman and above.
Setting high standards for contractor safety
Our contract partners perform about 80% of our work in the field, so they’re vital to our operations. Devon’s policy is to work only with approved contractors and vendors who complete our supplier qualification process and meet our extensive policy, insurance and EHS requirements. Contractors are responsible for having EHS programs that meet or exceed all federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations, as well as Devon’s standards and protocols.
Our expectation that contractors do high-quality work with personnel who are trained to work safely is spelled out in our EHS Philosophy and in our contractor safety orientation. We continually seek to raise the level of contractor safety performance through training and engagement, and make every effort to work with contractors who have the most robust safety programs and track records. In 2018, 88% of our operational spending was with contractors who earned our highest safety ratings.
To work with Devon, contract workers must complete SafeLand or RigPass training, both highly regarded industry safety programs, and a separate Devon orientation available through our online contractor portal. The field orientation describes our critical safety rules for handling chemicals, housekeeping, waste management, communications and other activities while working on Devon locations. Oil haulers and all other contractors who work in transportation or in seismic operations must complete additional safety briefings.
To provide contractors information to help them work safely, our safety requirements, expectations, protocols, Safety Data Sheets (SDS), forms and tools are readily accessible on our company website.
During safety orientation and on our work sites, an important facet is a clear understanding of our Stop Work Responsibility. Our contractors and employees have a responsibility to stop the job and call for a safety meeting if they see an unsafe situation. For example, one of our lease operators stopped work and sent a water hauler home during a lightning storm, sending a clear message that worker safety is more important to our operations than a few hours of production.
Devon employees have stopped work to ensure proper use of fall-protection equipment. Vigilance stems from industry trends: Fall fatalities across the industry increased in 2018, although overall work-related fatalities decreased. Our teams recognize and reward workers who exercise Stop Work Responsibility and encourage them to share safety stories.
From scheduled field safety meetings to supervisor ride-alongs, continuously improving our safety culture is a way of life at Devon. Before they perform work, crews complete a pre-task tailgate meeting to raise awareness of the potential risks and exposures, required personal protective equipment and other aspects of the job. Examples of controls these meetings emphasize are clear buffer zones around high-pressure equipment and watching out for dropped objects. We believe this emphasis contributed to our reduction in SIF incidents and reported near-misses in 2018.
Devon encourages leadership engagements in the field because they can have a positive impact on our workforce, safety performance and operational excellence. Hard hat stickers that say “Ask me my reason for working safely” help our leaders start conversations with personnel in the field. The reasons people give for working safely typically revolve around family and friends – a higher motivation than simply following procedures. As people leave our field offices on the way to do their jobs, they often see family photos posted on bulletin boards that remind them why they want to work safely.
Driving continuous improvement
To identify and reduce risk, employee-led teams perform audits of our operations. Business units are responsible for developing and implementing corrective actions to address audit findings. Audits and corrective-action plans are recorded and tracked in the Devon Incident Management System and often lead to operational changes to continuously improve safety performance.
Positive trends in safety performance
Each year, Devon sets corporate goals to drive improvements in safety performance. We saw positive trends from 2017 to 2018, even though we missed some of our targets. Our total recordable incident rate(TRIR) improved 10% year over year and our SIF recordable rate improved 33%, with 30 million hours worked. Employees drove 19 million miles with only one vehicle SIF incident in 2018; this coincides with our policy barring use of electronic devices while driving on company business and implementing the use of in-vehicle devices to monitor driving behaviors. We believe our Hearts and Minds leadership training, field leadership engagements, onboarding workshop, and effective investigations and corrective actions all contributed to better performance.
During the past year, crews on two rigs celebrated four years each with no recordable injuries–a record they attribute to strong safety culture and rig onboarding workshops that emphasized doing the right things the right way. In more than four years of work, these crews have logged 521,629 man-hours with 195 employees safely completing 101 wells without a recordable incident.
Devon believes if we make our workforce aware of workplace risks, hazards and preventive measures, we can prevent life-altering and life-threatening injuries and illnesses and make significant progress in safety and health.
Preventing incidents and injuries
Devon’s 2019 corporate safety goals are weighted toward leading indicators, including reducing SIFs by learning through near misses, investigations completed in under 30 days and sharing learnings effectively across the company. We’re also tracking improvement in SIF recordables, a lagging indicator.