No job is so important and no task so urgent that the necessary steps cannot be taken to perform it safely and maintain the health of our employees, contractors and the public.
Fulfilling our business goals
We take the necessary time and steps to perform work safely and maintain the health and safety of our employees, contractors and the public. We want everyone who works for Devon to go home safely to their friends and family after work each day.
Devon believes exemplary safety performance is essential to fulfilling our business goals and stakeholder expectations. We expect the active participation and support of Devon’s leaders, employees and contractors to achieve our safety goals. Our Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Philosophy outlines 10 guiding principles that we integrate into decisions influencing our operations. We hold ourselves and contractors accountable for fully implementing this philosophy and encouraging all stakeholders to express any concerns that may arise.
Everyone who works for Devon is expected to comply with applicable safety laws, regulations, policies and protocols, and apply sound professional judgment at all times.
A strategy for continuous improvement
Our safety governance structure includes Devon’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Steering Committee, which closely monitors safety performance and reports on progress to the executive committee as needed.
Our Senior Safety Leadership Team is responsible for setting Devon’s goals and strategy to continuously improve our safety systems. These senior leaders of operations and business units meet multiple times each year to review safety performance and identify opportunities to improve. For example, after the team identified distracted driving as a prevailing risk among Devon employees, in February 2017 we barred the use of electronic devices while driving on company business. Our vehicle policy now requires that employees safely park their vehicle when using a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or other electronic device, except in emergency situations. Following this change, Devon recorded zero vehicle-related significant incidents or fatalities (SIF) in 2017 for the first year ever. The company began 2018 with employees driving 41 million miles without an on-the-job vehicle SIF.
Holding our contractors to high safety standards
Contractors perform about 80 percent of Devon’s work in the field; they’re vital to our operations. Our EHS Philosophy is clear: we expect our contractors to do high-quality work with personnel trained to work safely. We continually seek to raise the level of contractor safety performance through training and engagement, and we make every effort to utilize contractors that have the most robust safety programs and track records. In 2017, over 91 percent of our operational spending was with contractors that earned our three highest safety ratings. Devon’s policy is to work only with approved contractors and vendors who complete our supplier qualification process and agree to an extensive set of policy, insurance and EHS requirements. Our contractors are responsible for having EHS programs that meet or exceed all federal, state/provincial and local laws, rules and regulations, as well as Devon’s standards and protocols. To ensure contractors have the information they need to work safely, we make our safety requirements, expectations, protocols, Safety Data Sheets (SDS), forms and tools readily available on our company website.
Training, tools, knowledge and skills
Safety is part of the Devon culture that is reinforced throughout each employee’s career, starting on Day 1. New-hire orientation includes a presentation that describes the action-oriented behaviors Devon expects from employees to demonstrate workplace safety: visible commitment, accountability, anticipation, participation, recognition and communication. These attributes are also incorporated into our employee appraisal process.
One of our guiding principles is to give employees training and tools to ensure they have the knowledge and skills needed to implement our EHS philosophy and perform their jobs competently. Each year, Devon employees complete a survey that assigns safety training based on their job tasks. We offer more than 100 safety-related training topics online or on-site for office and field employees, as well as a presentation on leading with safety during new-leader orientation. Employees who work in or visit field locations complete a field safety briefing or orientation.
All of this training emphasizes our requirement to immediately report any incident or near-miss event and to be accountable for our own and others’ safety. We also survey employees to gauge their knowledge of Devon’s safety programs. In the U.S., contract workers are required to complete SafeLand or RigPass training, highly regarded industry safety programs, and a separate Devon orientation available through our online contractor portal. The field orientation describes our requirements while working on Devon locations, such as handling chemicals, housekeeping, waste management and communications. Additional briefings are required for oil haulers and contractors who work in seismic operations and transportation. One of the most important points covered in safety orientation and at our work sites is Stop Work Authority. At Devon, contractors and employees have an obligation to stop the job and call for a safety meeting if they see an unsafe condition.
Communicating about safety is a way of life at Devon, from scheduled safety meetings in field locations to town hall discussions and supervisor ride-alongs. Before work is performed, crews complete a pre-task tailgate conference to ensure they are aware of the potential risks and exposures, notifications, required personal protective equipment and other aspects of the job. Certain tasks, such as those performed infrequently or that involve elevated risk, may also require a job hazard analysis. Devon encourages leadership engagements in the field because they’re an important factor in safety performance and operational excellence. For example, in the Delaware Basin, leaders from senior supervisors to assistant foremen are required to spend one day each week in the field getting to know our contractors. The engagements focus on building personal rapport and remind workers that Devon is concerned for their well-being. In addition, Devon provides our employees a web-enabled application that collects data from pre-task tailgates and supervisor ride-alongs, providing visibility to safety leadership engagements.
As part of our continuous improvement efforts, employee-led teams perform EHS audits of our operations to proactively identify and reduce risk. Business units are responsible for developing and implementing corrective actions to address audit findings. Audits and corrective-action plans are recorded and tracked in the Devon Incident Management System. Audit findings often lead to operational changes to improve safety. For example, a 2017 audit resulted in an increased emphasis on training and field verification to ensure proper energy isolation during equipment maintenance activities.
2017 safety performance
Devon sets corporate goals each year to drive safety performance improvements. We track the total recordable incident rate (TRIR) per 200,000 hours worked and SIFs. Devon’s TRIR increased to 0.60 in 2017 from 0.41 in 2016. We believe this was due primarily to increased activity in the oil and gas industry and the associated increase in workers new to our industry, which makes us more determined to improve our safety performance going forward. Through mandatory annual safety orientation, pre-task tailgate meetings and other means, we make our workforce aware of ways to prevent the most common causes of incidents and injuries, which range from mechanical lifting and rigging to hydrogen sulfide exposure. We believe if we can prevent life-altering and life-threatening injuries and illnesses, we will make significant progress in safety and health.
2018 safety focus
Devon remains committed to Target Zero, an incident-free workplace, by emphasizing personal and process safety. In addition, we’ll continue to hire the most qualified contractors and engage with them to improve their safety performance. Devon believes that keeping people safe is our moral obligation and, on this front, our work is never done.