Communications, Promotion, and Badak LNG: Contributing to Sustaining the Business

PART TWO….. The Logic for this Communication and Promotion ‘Project’

Although lightly addressed in the latter part of Part One, it is important to understand the background and the rationale for Badak LNG having decided to implement this activity.

For the first seven or eight years of our work with Badak LNG and assessing their management system, the explicit focus had been on HSE, but from an occupational point of view, with an implicit ‘undercurrent’ covering Process Safety Management or ‘PSM.’  For a major process facility, this should not be allowed to continue for long as the risks that need to be explicitly addressed – process risks – tend to go undercover taking this approach.

So, in 2009-2010 thereabouts, Badak LNG transitioned to DNV GL’s ISRS 8th edition, which had recently been launched as well to the general market, and containing internationally accepted standards for managing process safety.  Thus step one accomplished – PSM was now explicitly on paper so as to be assessed explicitly in the Badak organisation.  For the first two years, such assessments were done as per routine, and the pattern of findings kept emerging that although process safety was documented in various manuals, procedures, work instructions, etc., it wasn’t a focus of leadership communication.  ‘Walk’ and ‘Talk’ were not meeting harmoniously.  This was consistently evidenced in verification interviews whereby when regular line employees were asked questions such as, “what are the top three major hazards on site?,” their responses were typically related to occupational HSE events, yet they were working in a major process facility.

So what?

This pattern of findings was both somewhat alarming and actually a reflection of the existing culture that was still persisting – personnel were well versed in what could injure them individually and send them home occupationally – all the slips, trips, and falls that anybody could encounter any place on the planet.  But they weren’t conversant, and therefore were also not risk competent enough to identify, evaluate, control, and monitor those risks that could devastate the entire facility, as well as potentially devastate surrounding communities.  This is a prime example of a major threat to the business and its sustainability, with major knock-off effects for sustainable development activities for the immediate region.  The result of a major accident to sustainable development is a simple causal chain: major release of LNG occurs, an ignition source meets the LNG, which leads to explosion and devastation of the plant, which leads to loss of business continuity, which subsequently leads to loss of funding for their nationally famous community development programs, ultimately leading to loss of livelihood for thousands in the community.  Period.

Thus for two DNV GL assessment reports (2011 and 2012) these were among the major findings, verbatim:

  1. “’Modern’ thinking about Process Safety Management (PSM), i.e., ‘barrier approaches’ should be more evident across all levels. (Suggestion would be to make next year the ‘Year of PSM,’ to carry on from the current ‘Year of Reliability’ theme).”
  2. “Badak LNG should make a formal decision for their 2013 theme in order to continually sustain and promote a positive process safety culture.  DNV recommends that these guidance questions be addressed:  Is the ‘Year of PSM’ and ‘Year of Reliability’ still fit-for-purpose for 2013?  If so, can these be repeated for year 2013 without personnel losing interest?  Is a new theme for 2013 better instead, perhaps related to PSM, such as Management of Change (MOC) and/or other PSM element(s)?”

Thus, after considering these recommendations, Badak management did indeed approve and initiate a ‘Year of PSM’ communications and promotion campaign organization-wide in 2012, and looking at recommendation #2 above, continued / extended it, but in a more specific way during that year.  The expressed goals in doing these campaigns were as follows:

  1. to supplement other PSM activities with a communications ‘module’ that would support communicatively what other PSM modules aimed to achieve.
  2. to provide an overall, ongoing ‘umbrella’ message communicating the importance of thinking about, learning about, and implementing PSM consciously / explicitly in the organization.
  3. to provide a communications mechanism / driver as part of overall Badak efforts to establish a ‘World Class Safety Culture.’  Without PSM as part of this, it would have been well nigh impossible for Badak to achieve this goal considering that it is one of the world’s largest process facilities handling volatile hydrocarbons.

In the next part, PART THREE, we’ll look at some of the techniques and themes that Badak employed to drive this initiative forward…..


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