For years the Rumaila oilfield had suffered from lack of investment in equipment, training and modern procedures. Employees were used to doing what they could to keep the oilfield producing as much as possible. This could often lead to selfless acts that disregarded personal safety. When re-investment in the field began, this old way of operating, which had become embedded into the day-to-day practices of the oilfield workers, needed to change.
To create a sustainable safety culture at Rumaila required a significant shift in attitude. From one where maintaining oil production was of paramount importance, to one where safety comes first and the lives and wellbeing of employees are priority. Undertaking heroic actions to keep the oil flowing was seen as the sign of a committed employee. We had to change this perception, so that the worker who operated safely was seen as acting in the best interests of the organisation and Iraq.
In the key early stages, the materials developed were not just about reinforcing the safety rules but, equally important, they demonstrated that the long-term priority for the organisation was a deeply held ‘we care’ attitude. Even the smallest pieces of safety communication were created with the same precision and quality that is at the heart of every activity.