Recognizing excellence in corporate culture
Tecpetrol has been awarded the 2023 prize for Integrated Management in Health, Safety, and Environment. For area head Federico Sameghini, this recognition means so much more than the prize itself, as he explains in this article.
It was a short missive, signed by Ernesto López Anadón, president of the IAPG (Argentine Oil & Gas Institute), saying that Tecpetrol had won the award for Integrated Management in Health, Safety and Environment 2023. Yet Federico Sameghini, Health, Safety and Environmental Corporate Director, is unable to mask his pride and excitement. Although he’s not surprised, despite this being the first time that Tecpetrol has been awarded the coveted trophy in Argentina. And he’s not surprised because, as he puts it, it’s a recognition for doing things, and Tecpetrol has been working for many years to improve its safety record and its way of managing processes.
Federico is happy but also cautious: he’s fully aware that in his area, Safety, Environment and Health, any deviation or distraction can have unexpected consequences. He knows, as always, that you should never let your guard down.
He explains that, “Every year, the main oil & gas operators report their safety and environmental statistics to the IAPG. Using this data, an algorithm scores each one according to the number of incidents reported and their severity. In Argentina, where Tecpetrol concentrates 75% of all of its hours worked, we had no accidents with lost days, for example, and I think that this was one of the reasons why we won the award. As for our environmental indicators, they’re also good and we’re working hard to improve them even more.”
Safety is something that involves everybody. The HSE (Health, Safety, and Environment) team sets company-wide standards, and defines programs and tools to be later executed in the field. However, for Federico, it’s not something that only concerns his area but rather a reflection of the overarching culture of the company’s entire structure and how this is integrated. It’s something that begins at the top with Ricardo Markous, CEO, who always brings up the importance of safety in his talks, and cascades down to the workers and contractors in operational areas.
“Historically, we’ve always trained both our own people and contractors about technical issues. But we don’t think that’s enough. So, a little while back, we took a step further to try to influence daily procedures. That's what we call culture: what people do when no one is watching them. Because being cautious when someone’s watching is easy, but taking care of ourselves and our colleagues at all times is part of what we instill, day in, day out.”
The point is that the IAPG prize is not an award for something intangible, but a reward for thinking about our people. “What I really want to highlight is our own benchmarking, as these results show us how we’re protecting ourselves, and they tell us that this year, we smashed our own historical record in this area. Our indicators are improving and it’s very good news. It means that what we’re doing is working and we have to continue down that road. This is culture, it’s to everyone's credit, and that’s the key to continuing to improve.”
The IAPG’s recognition is the icing on the cake, yet more proof that the path chosen is the right one. However, “we can’t sit back and rest on our laurels, as safety is a daily affair: we must permanently be renewing our commitment to this. If we slack off for any reason, that’s when incidents occur. Our best reward is for absolutely nothing to happen,” concludes Federico.