by Francisco Ugalde Bilbao, Rh.D
British Gas (BG) regional companies in South America – Comgas, Metrogas, British Gas Bolivia, Gasoducto Cruz del Sur and Iqara Brasil - located throughout the region in Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and Brazil, implemented a Behavior-Based Safety (Values Based Safety®) process following a pilot project launched by British Gas Bolivia in early 2004.
The work established an innovative teamwork approach to the Values Based Safety® process and contributed to the improvement of regional HSSE performance, as measured by the 14-point HSSE Assurance Tool, allowing British Gas South America to end the year 2004 with the lowest British Gas group region (Lost Time Incident Frequency) LTIF.
BG Bolivia began implementing their Values Based Safety® process at the La Vertiente gas plant with the assistance of a Spanish-speaking Quality Safety Edge consultant. Concurrently, it also organized three training workshops which included representatives from all the regional companies. The participants closely followed the Values Based Safety® implementation process conducted in Bolivia as well as planning the implementation at their regional sites. Further workshops were also held in Brazil and Argentina which accelerated the Values Based Safety® implementation process and allowed comparing results and the sharing of experiences.
As of December 2004, a total of 827 observers had been trained (this number represents 100% of the workforce of La Vertiente Gas Plant and 85% of the Comgas workforce). A total of 1179 observations had been conducted.
The graph below shows the safe observations trend resulting from the corrective actions implemented by the Values Based Safety Process steering committee of La Vertiente Gas Plant. Tag-out & Lock-out compliance procedure and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are specific examples of enhanced safety practices.
Implementations of the Values Based Safety Process process were completed with enthusiastic participation of all persons involved, along with strong management leadership and support. The Values Based Safety Process process not only improved the HSSE performance of the individual companies, and of the region as a whole, but also contributed to the integration and motivation of the workforce.
To quote Rick Wadell, EVP BG South America: "I strongly believe Values Based Safety Process is making a difference within the region".
Rodolfo Barriga is the HSSE manager of BG-Bolivia. As such, he has been responsible for the original implementation of the Values Based Safety Process process in the region: "The regional-based approach, with an umbrella contract for a single consultant company (i.e., Quality Safety Edge), allowed important savings and made possible for all regional operational companies to complete implementation within a year".
Luis Claure is an Operator at the La Vertiente Gas Plant and chairs the Values Based Safety Process Steering Team in his shift. He states: "I believe Values Based Safety Process has contributed not only to improve people's safety behaviour in La Vertiente but also in improved teamwork".