Managing Risk Through Transformative Company Culture

October 04, 2018

Author: Patrick Tower

We operate in a complex, high-risk environment. Many companies manage the complexity and inherent risks involved in their operations through rules, processes or programs.

At BJ, we are taking a proactive approach that goes beyond standardized processes and safety programs. We are creating a culture of high reliability.

A High Reliability Organization (HRO) operates in a complex, high-risk environment and delivers exceptionally safe and consistently high-quality service over time. HROs openly address risks and develop effective systems, making them relatable to the day-to-day activities of the team, to maximize safety and increase efficiency.

Five HRO Principles

We are building a culture focused on continuous improvement that is both adaptable and resilient. One method we use is imbedding the five HRO principles in all aspects of the organization, not just operations. These principles are grouped into two main areas:  anticipation and containment.

Anticipation principles are specifically designed to manage risks before they occur:

  • Sensitivity to operations – Team members are laser-focused on operational execution. We train our teams on how to identify risks and quickly react to changing conditions to mitigate risks before they happen.
  • Reluctance to simplify – We are instilling in our team to thoroughly understand the complex environment and refuse to accept solutions that are simplistic. We constantly refine the decision-making process and focus on all potential solutions.
  • Preoccupation with failure – We actively recognize how small and seemingly insignificant errors are signals that can be used to predict and eliminate larger failures. A near miss is an opportunity to update systems and processes. We actively track, and act based on these lessons learned.

Containment principles are designed to solve problems when they do occur:

  • Deference to expertise -  Expertise doesn’t always lie with the supervisor. We have a collaborative approach to problem-solving and decision making that brings together and leans on those team members with the most knowledge or expertise regarding an issue regardless of rank.
  • Resilience - A resilient culture bounces back in the face of adversity to complete operational objectives. We coach teams on how to quickly mitigate errors and react to solve planned and unplanned failures

We drive these principles into the heart of our operations. 

We have work practices that enable us to do our jobs more efficiently. We train and empower our crews to make decisions and be resilient. And we measure every aspect of our business for transparency and improvement. This consistent focus can reduce lost time incidents, lower downtime and improve safety. The result is an entire company working toward lowering the total cost of ownership for our clients and providing stability for our employees and our partners. 

If you would like to learn more about our journey, you can download our technical paper, “Perfecting Operational Execution: The Journey to High Reliability in the Oilfield” or visit the High Reliability section of our website.