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June 1, 2010

Safety culture of Shell and Safety Day

Before joining Shell, I was always a safety-minded individual, or so I thought. Since joining Shell, I’ve realized how much more there is to think about, and how easy it is to incorporate that thinking into every single day..

I noticed right away that we started our first meeting off with a “safety minute.” This is incorporated into every meeting that happens at Shell. It is to keep us safety-minded and remind us of the targets that Shell sets for safety.
Goal-Zero is the biggest part of Shell’s safety culture. This is simply the over-arching goal of Shell as a whole to have zero days of lost work time due to accidents. It is something in common for Shell employees universally.

To assist with goal zero are Shell’s twelve life-saving rules. These are pervasive rules that apply not only while at work, but anytime while in the employ of Shell; and, in reality, they should be applied by everyone everywhere. It is encouraging to have executives speak about these rules as a foundation that helps each of us to come home safely to our families at night.
I was with the company for a little over a month before experiencing the first full-fledged safety activities: Shell’s Safety Day. On safety day, the whole lobby in Shell Center was set up to bring awareness about safety to Shell employees. This included a number of virtual reality activities, including: a driving simulator, and a fire-fighting simulation.

I learned a number of things from safety day. First, a culture of safety is important. Our entire department came together for a number of safety day briefings. Managers and executives participated too, and helped to reinforce this culture of safety. Second, there is a lot to keep in mind to continue to work safe. We had a safety knowledge trivia game, and it showed me how much I still had to learn.
Finally, I learned about the contingencies that have to be worked through before entering into a dangerous situation. This I learned while trying the fire extinguisher simulator. In this simulation, the fire marshal turned on the “fire” and I put it out with a fire-extinguisher (this is on a screen of sorts and the extinguisher is an infrared-type device). I was able to put out two of the three fires, but I had to keep in mind that at some point I would have to decide whether to keep fighting the fire, or get out of there before the fire became unmanageable.

The culture of safety at Shell is a huge positive, and something that I will take with me no matter where I end up.

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