Intense training and a safety-first mindset helps R.P. Oilfield Service make a name for itself

R.P. Oilfield Service in Rock Springs, Wyoming, hasn’t had a lost-time incident in 14 years — and that’s no accident. Workplace safety informs virtually every aspect of the company’s operations, says Patrick Hartford, general manager.

“In this industry, you have to create a culture of safety,” says Hartford. “You set safety standards and emphasize to employees that anything less than that is unacceptable — no exceptions.”

The reasons for safety are both practical and personal. On the practical side, a company with a bad safety record won’t last long in the industry. On the personal side, Hartford says the company — which has only 15 employees — is a tight-knit group that’s more like a family than a business.

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“All of our guys are friends. They hold barbecues at each other's houses and watch each other's kids — everyone truly cares about everyone else,” Hartford explains. “Safety isn’t something we do just because it’s what we have to do, it’s because we care about our employees. We don’t waver at all about emphasizing safety because you want your employees to go home safe and sound at the end of every day.”

The company fosters a safety-first mindset in many ways. It has built an extensive library of reference materials devoted to safe work practices and procedures. Moreover, all employees are trained properly to ensure they know safe operating procedures. In addition, the company conducts daily “tailgate” safety meetings that last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, and supervisors perform a job-safety analysis before the start of each work each day, Hartford says.

Furthermore, the company embraces the Stop Work Authority program, in which any employee has the right — and the obligation — to stop work if they believe something jeopardizes their safety or that of fellow employees.

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The company also holds monthly safety meetings where issues include everything from hot work (open-flame welding) to confined-space operation to driving safety. Employees who run equipment must receive in-house training, then pass a skills test that demonstrates they can safely run the machine. And all employees must take a 12-hour basic-orientation course on gas and oilfield safety, put on by PEC Premier, Hartford says.

“Safety is a huge deal for us,” he notes. “If you don’t have a good safety record, you don’t get hired. So it’s a big selling point for us. Our customers know we can not only do the job and do it right, but do it safely, too.”

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