The Importance of Proactive Management in the Natural Gas Industry
There has been a revolution of sorts in the natural gas industry, and that has led to a huge increase in production and profits for the companies involved in everything from exploration and discovery to manufacturing and refining.
The new technologies that allow natural gas to be extracted safely and more less money have caused many new companies to get into that business, and as that has happened there have been a number of high-profile accidents. Those accidents have in turn tarnished the reputation of the entire industry, and that means it is up to the responsible suppliers to step up and take a proactive approach to worker and environmental safety.
Taking a proactive approach to safety is always a smart move, but it is especially critical in an industry where even a small accident could have a devastating impact on the environment, workers and local communities. There are a number of things responsible natural gas explorers and suppliers can do to put safety at the forefront, starting with an initial assessment of potential environmental impacts.
There is often a tendency among natural gas suppliers to minimize the potential for environmental impact, but it is important to be realistic here. Even the most carefully designed and well constructed pipe can leak, and knowing what will happen if it does is an essential first step in managing safety and keeping the plant and its workers safe.
Plant managers should take the lead on worker training and charge each department head with identifying potential hazards and developing a realistic response plan. A comprehensive emergency response plan is critical, and holding regular drills is the best way to make sure everyone has the training they need to respond promptly.
In the natural gas industry rapid response can mean the difference between a small and easily containable accident and a devastating incident with long-lasting environmental impacts. Appointing an experienced panel of men and women pulled from the front line and management ranks is one of the best ways to proactively approach plant safety, especially if the lessons are reinforced with regular meetings and safety drills.
Last but certainly not least, plant managers can further their proactive approach by making it clear that safety is a priority and not an afterthought. It is easy for a culture to emerge in which safety measures are seen as an unnecessary expense and not as a vital part of doing business. Constantly reinforcing the message of safety through company materials, training sessions and daily practices is the best way to protect workers, the environment and local communities as the natural gas revolution continues to grow and prosper.