A culture that prioritizes safety

There have been no lost time accidents (LTI) at the Aguaragüe operation for the last ten years, an impressive milestone that’s the result of teamwork and a certain way of doing things.

Eduardo Isasmendi, Sr. Division. Manager, and Miguel Iriarte, Health, Safety & Environment Manager, don’t talk about magic formulas but about hard work. According to Miguel, “Every day we make sure to fully respect Tecpetrol's regulations, critical operating standards and danger cards.” These are the tools intrinsic to corporate safety management, the area run by Federico Sameghini, Health, Safety & Environment Corporate Director.

Tasks involving work at height.-

It comes as no surprise to see that there have been no lost time accidents (LTI) at the site for ten years, although this is also a major achievement. This is because HSE oversight is an integral part of operational supervision and constantly present in each work front, each work team and each operation. When planning a task, those in charge review all the risks using a Risk and Impact Identification and Assessment Matrix (MIVRI in Spanish) ensuring that all the necessary barriers are properly planned and in place to minimize the occurrence of incidents or accidents, and the residual risks and corresponding criticality are also calculated.

In Aguaragüe, there’s always a lot going on. That’s why the culture of prevention is so important to cover all the different work fronts. “Over these last ten years, we’ve carried out gas plant modification tasks and plant shutdowns, we’ve drilled and repaired wells with rig equipment and others. All complex tasks,” says Eduardo, ticking off a list. “To ensure we take proper care of ourselves, we evaluate our tasks according to their potential criticality. If the task is yellow, we oversee it between HSE and our workers themselves. If the task is coded red, it stops. Green tasks have less criticality and our area regularly checks that all the standards are being met. In addition, our personnel know what to do to continue being careful,” Miguel adds.

Eduardo expands: “The culture we’ve built at the site is very important, as this goes above and beyond the HSE sector. It’s a way of doing things that was born here, the operation is fully permeated with safety procedures and objectives and that translates into people working well even when no one is looking. You take care of yourself and others. Everyone understands what they have to do, stops tasks and loads their pro-activities. It’s not easy, but it’s one of the objectives allowed by the organization.”

Safety meeting. Campo Durán plant shutdown. September 26 and 27.-

Turning that culture into a reality is what it's about, quite simply. Eduardo comments that, “It’s amazing to see dozens of people working simultaneously in the same way during a plant shutdown, where there are cranes and other kinds of equipment; when you pass through all the work fronts and see how everything they’ve planned is reflected on a chart or diagram, and that all tasks are completed with neither accidents nor incidents.”

Miguel says that the use of ‘HSE tools’, compliance with procedures and the overall safety culture play an essential role here: “It's an issue that affects everyone, and the daily involvement of supervisors and leaders is key. One example? The driver who meets people at the Salta airport to ferry them to Tartagal gives them an induction course before they’ve even started their trip. It’s top of mind for everybody here, they live and breathe safety. This is something we’ve achieved with training. Everybody is involved, safety is fully integrated into every operational aspect, and from management we are continually providing support and seeing how best to provide solutions that comply with safety standards. I like to think that these ten years without any LTI accidents are a direct consequence of everything we do on a daily basis.”

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