BSEE Chief Spells Out Nine Values for Safety Success

They're characteristic of a robust safety culture, BSEE Director James A. Watson said during the Center for Offshore Safety's first annual forum April 29.

Forty-nine oil and gas rigs were operating in the Gulf of Mexico at the start of April 2013, more than prior to the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April 2010, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director James A. Watson said April 29 in a speech at the Center for Offshore Safety's first annual forum. He also said the bureau expects that number to rise throughout the summer.

Watson's speech included a list of nine values that he said are characteristic of a robust safety culture, calling them "tenets we should live by in order to have a culture of safety" The nine were based on the transformation brought about by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission following the Three Mile Island accident in 1979.

He listed them this way, according to the transcript of his speech posted at www.bsee.gov:

  • The first is leadership. The leaders of industry must demonstrate a commitment to safety in their decisions and behaviors.
  • Second is problem identification and resolution. Safety issues must be promptly identified, evaluated, and addressed.
  • The third value is personal accountability. Every single person on the OCS must take personal responsibility for safety.
  • Work processes are the fourth value. This is implementing a process of planning and controlling work activities so that safety is maintained.
  • The fifth value is continuous learning. We work in a very dynamic environment that is pushing into new frontiers, and safety must keep pace with this progress.
  • Our sixth value is an environment for raising concerns. We want everyone in your organization to feel empowered to raise safety concerns without fear of retaliation or intimidation.
  • Effective communication is another key value -- and this is communication not only within your company, but also within industry and with BSEE.
  • We believe that trust and respect must permeate throughout the organization, and that is our eighth value.
  • Our ninth and final value is an inquiring attitude. "This will help to fight off complacency and eliminate the human errors that underlie too many accidents, and I believe this value is at the heart of developing the culture we're looking for. All of our employees should have an inquiring attitude if we are to continually improve offshore safety," he said.

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