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Family is at the heart of safety award

At the 2021 CEPA Foundation Quality Summit, our annual Safety Award was presented to Arnett & Burgess Pipeliners (A&B) for their FAMILY Program.

At the 2021 CEPA Foundation Quality Summit, our annual Safety Award was presented to Arnett & Burgess Pipeliners (A&B) for their FAMILY Program.

FAMILY is an acronym for Focus, Assessment, Mentorship, Involvement, Leadership and You, all of the most important elements that constitute an all-encompassing safety program.

We spoke with Chris Whitfield, Senior HSE Manager with A&B, to learn more about the program, and the impact it has on safety culture.

“I believe that our FAMILY program truly is best in class,” said Whitfield. “The clients that we work with in the energy industry have extremely high expectations for safety and it’s very important to us that our standards are as high as theirs. We have created a safety program that enhances A&B as a contractor, protects our workers and protects our worksites.”

The effectiveness of the FAMILY program lies in the fact that it is thorough, standardized, tested and proven. It’s included in the field level hazard assessment and designed so that all employees from seasoned workers to new hires are able to follow the paperwork through from start to finish, checking all the safety boxes and ensuring their complete understanding of all the appropriate safety protocols.

“Onboarding is a prime example of the effectiveness of the program,” said Whitfield. “The nature of our business is that we often have a short amount of time to set up projects. We can go from calm to needing 200 people on a site within a matter of weeks, and many of those crew members will be new to our company. We can achieve those turnarounds because we have taken the time to create standardized processes, and we find that new people realize right out of the gate that we’re very serious about safety. We take the time to establish that expectation, and that’s been a big part of building a strong safety culture.”

FAMILY is a particularly appropriate acronym for A&B’s safety program as employees on pipeline sites spend more time with their colleagues than they do with their own families at certain times of the year. Whitfield explained that they can be on a site for as many as 24 days in a row, and then they go home for four days, so crew members tend to become very close. “Our crews are working in harsh environments, with heavy equipment and with materials that are unforgiving,” said Whitfield. “That’s why the FAMILY initiative and a complete commitment to safety is so important.”

As the Senior HSE Manager at A&B, Whitfield reports directly to the president of the company. That’s a clear indication that the organization’s safety culture starts at the top. It’s backed by executives, senior management and construction management, ultimately filtering down to every employee.

Congratulations to Arnett & Burgess for this well-deserved award, and for creating a safety culture that is strong from top to bottom, encompassing all the families within.

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