In 2016, even as Devon Energy enjoyed its longest-ever stretch without a serious injury, the company kept striving to make its operations even safer. In the process, a new mantra developed: There’s no finish line when it comes to safety.

We’ve seen that a strong environmental and safety culture goes hand-in-hand with exceptional operations. For example, in 2012 the initial production from our oil and natural gas wells was good, and so was our safety culture – good, but not exceptional. So we sharpened our focus on safety and environmental communications with our employees and contractors.

  • We conducted more pre-task meetings with workers to discuss job-site risks and strategies to avoid hazards.
  • We emphasized investigating situations where someone wasn’t hurt – but could have been. That allows us to put corrective actions in place.
  • Supervisors spend time with their field employees, often riding with them in the field to discuss safety and other topics.
  • A Senior Safety Leadership Team was formed to continuously improve the organization’s safety systems. The team – composed of executives and other leaders – meets regularly to advance the cause of operating in an environmentally sound manner and getting everyone home safely every day.
  • An internal Environmental Health and Safety audit team systematically searches for improvement. The team identifies and reduces potential risks and keeps Devon compliant with federal and state rules and regulations. They also follow up with local employees to ensure that the desired environmental, health and safety improvements have been made.
  • We recently implemented a voluntary leak detection and repair program in the U.S., using FLIR camera technology, to drive our environmental performance.

Our safety and environmental culture has improved, and our oil and natural gas wells improved from mid-pack to leader among our peers.

Still, staying true to character, we’re always looking for ways to do even better.