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Devon Energy is Partnering for Safety

The Devon Energy, Exploration and Production group in Bridgeport, TX has implemented a unique Values-Based Safety® process that involves partnering with contractors as well as Devon employees. Even though Devon employees had relatively low incident rates, they had a strong concern for contract employee injuries in their gas well drilling, construction, and completion operations. Under the leadership of Jay Ewing, Completion/Construction Supervisor, Devon moved ahead with VBS planning and invited key contractors to voluntarily participate. Six contract companies showed up at the Design Team Training and at its completion were excited to continue. Over the ensuing 6 weeks the 17 member team created the S.A.F.E. (Safe Actions For Employees) process that included a thorough plan for conducting observations at lease locations involving co-observing of rig hands, consultants, and other contract personnel. They later added a plan and checklists for driving self-observations, office activities, and a Spanish version of the operations checklist. Contractors participated in observer training along with Devon employees and the process was launched in March of 2004. Since that time, other contractor companies have come on board and been trained to conduct S.A.F.E. observations as well. 

Devon EnergyAfter 20 months of operation, challenges still exist for the S.A.F.E. team. Maintaining high levels of contractor participation, keeping up with data from remote locations, and communicating meaningful data to the field are continuous objectives. Devon has however, successfully created a partnership where contractors have the opportunity to participate in a behavioral safety process that they otherwise could not have afforded alone. Concern for fellow workers was a driving value in this effort and it has led to stronger company-contractor relationships and accomplishments in safety.

After 20 months, the partnership of Devon and its contractors in the S.A.F.E. program has greatly reduced the number of incidents.


Through October, 2005, Devon E & P reports a 54% reduction in total injuries in quarters 1-3, compared to '04. The report shows that all recordable incidents are trending down including lost time injuries & actual days away from work, as well as first aid & non-treatments.

As a footnote, following the implementation of S.A.F.E., the sister gas services plant and pipeline group in Bridgeport, Devon Gas Services, has also created a process with their employees and contractors. Their plan is modelled after the first S.A.F.E. process and is just beginning to collect data. Kudos to these two organizations for going beyond themselves and providing an opportunity to benefit all who provide services to them.