It is always difficult to achieve a consistent and high safety standard during any major project. But when the project involves owners and stakeholders with different corporate and national cultures, success can be elusive. Although faced with these challenges, the construction effort of K Power's LNG plant in Korea is proceeding smoothly, and stands as a good model for others to follow.
Using simple, practical and down-to-earth safety communication, K Power has recorded an outstanding health and safety record: Zero accidents with 720,000 man hours so far.
Critical to their approach has been the creation of an innovative Safety Experience Training Centre; a dedicated area designed for safety induction which doubles up as the site entry point. Walking through the centre at the start of their shift, all project employees are escorted by a site safety supervisor and shown visual displays on good and poor practice.
One way to safety
At the centre, each new individual is initially inducted into the safety standards required on site such as personal protective equipment requirements, site safety rules for a broad range of conditions, equipment and tasks, including working at height use of scaffolding, lifting, electrical connections and welding practices.
"The emphasis is on clearly and visually demonstrating what is and what is not acceptable behaviour and practice," says Jin Han Baek, the site safety manager who has worked on the safety precautions since the start of the project. "Entry and exit to the site is always through this safety area, which is providing constant re-enforcement of safety issues,"
BP Global Power's HSSE manager Dennis O'Leary explains: "From the outset of the K-Power development, the approach has been one of inclusion, of respecting the diversity and contribution of each of the partners. In BP, safety is seen as critical to business success and in this case we are delighted to see a best practice safety concept originating with Daelim. It helps us in BP to realize that just because we set out to be a leader in HSSE, we don't always have the best ideas!
"The whole process is consistent with BP's behavioural approach; visibly and demonstrably helping people to understand what could go wrong. It provides a clear and powerful demonstration of our management's commitment to HSSE. It is an approach that could easily be replicated at other BP sites or any other joint venture projects where a common framework is necessary to accommodate a diversity of cultures," says O'Leary.
The difficulties faced by BP Global Power in undertaking the development of the project HSSE policy and management framework were numerous. After a late entry of BP into the enterprise, the HSSE development work was undertaken some four months after project commencement - a particular challenge as there were huge organisational differences between the three participating companies.
The HSSE policy also had to be designed to manage cultural and language challenges within a very tight time-frame for delivery of the policy. Indeed, the framework had to be dealt with in a flexible manner but yet implemented efficiently and consistently.
Through a facilitated three day workshop, with senior representatives participating from each organisation, all aspects associated with creating the safety framework were discussed and best practices were established. This inclusive approach meant the companies now share ownership of process and results both individually and jointly.
"In similar projects, this type of activity traditionally has taken weeks or months to complete. Based on BP experience, policy and systems are often not fully owned by the participating companies," says O'Leary.
Earning a good reputation
"The safety work undertaken at the site goes beyond compliance with national and local requirements, causing some to wonder if the effort represented an unnecessary cost," says Harry C.Y. Heo, who is BP's HSSE manager for the K Power project in Korea. "But there is no doubt in my mind that putting safety first pays off in every sense of the word, including the reinforcement of the company's brand. In gaining an unprecedented good safety record, which is a goal in itself, we also demonstrate that we are a company which takes people's safety seriously."
For Daelim, managing complex safety issues at huge construction sites both internationally and in Korea is part of building the company's good reputation. But as site manager Kyung Soo Han proudly admits: "Daelim has the best safety record in Korea, and this site has the best safety record in Daelim."
Both Han and Baek believe this has to do with the employees' commitment to best practice. "The employees think for themselves and actually take the safety concerns to their heart. It is a point of pride, and with this emotional aspect in place, combined with clear communication and a good framework ensuring the physical safety aspects, we achieve results that we are proud of. Working with BP we have also improved the way we see safety in broader terms," says Baek.
Sharing the experience throughout BP
O'Leary is impressed by what site manager Kyung Soo Han and Baek, the HSSE manager at the site, have achieved and says it is a powerful example of successful implementation of innovative safety work. "I am confident that this approach to project management can be applied elsewhere and will contribute to sustainable HSSE performance in many BP projects. It is repeatable across our $12 billion annual capex portfolio."
The Safety Experience Training Centre concept was recently shared at an Exploration and Production Emerging Areas HSE Workshop, attended by HSE representatives from BP's E&P segment from across the world. There is also an action plan in place to share Global Power's experiences with senior representatives from BP's Azerbaijan and Algerian business units.