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NEB Releases Expectations for Improving Safety Culture

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Canadian regulators are urging the oil and gas industry to improve safety.

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The National Energy Board (NEB), along with the Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, has released a joint statement and framework on “safety culture.” The final paper, “Advancing Safety in the Oil and Gas Industry: Statement on Safety Culture,” outlines the NEB’s expectations of regulated companies to build and sustain a strong safety culture.

Frameworks are intended to simplify and communicate a complex concept by dividing it into distinct dimensions. The Safety Culture Framework is divided into four negative dimensions that act as threats to organizational safety and four positive dimensions that act as cultural defenses against these threats. Being able to recognize both positive and negative dimensions of safety culture better equips an organization to prevent potential incidents, according to the NEB.

In addition to the framework, the NEB recently amended its National Energy Board Onshore Pipeline Regulations to require companies to have management systems in place that support the development and maintenance of a healthy safety culture. The NEB holds companies accountable for all management system requirements including those related to safety culture.

“The NEB already has the tools and regulations in place to enforce safety in Canada’s energy sector,” said Gaétan Caron, NEB chair and CEO. “With the release of the Safety Culture Framework, we are asking industry to go even further in order to develop organizational cultures where safety is a core value.”

The completion of the framework is the first step in the NEB’s journey to advance safety culture. The NEB will continue to work with other regulators, subject matter experts and interested parties to support improved understanding of safety culture across industry. The NEB will also continue its efforts to develop safety culture indicators that can be used by the NEB to gather information and identify potential hazards before they become problems.

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