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Safety: No. 1 Priority

 

Safety is the linchpin of Total’s social responsibility policy and helps drive its performance. As a result, it is an absolute priority for the Group. Strict, non-negotiable rules govern the safety of our employees, partners, facilities and vehicles. These rules are backed by a proactive threepronged strategy: the development of a Groupwide safety culture; the dissemination of our standards among our employees and service providers; and awareness-raising, training and support of all our stakeholders, beginning with local populations.

Interview with MARCEL SIMARD, Professor of Occupational Health and Safety at Université de Montréal

AFRICA SAFETY: A KEY OBJECTIVE

Interview with MARCEL SIMARD, Professor of Occupational Health and Safety at Université de Montréal

Marcel Simard has taught for some 30 years at the Université de Montréal.
In addition to working as a professor, he has also served as a consultant, particularly as a safety expert for Total.
He reviews the major safety issues facing Africa and analyzes the role that companies must play in this area.

 

 

What are the major safety issues currently facing Africa?

MARCEL SIMARD: I believe there are three main concerns. The first is road safety. While Africa only has 2% of the world’s vehicle fleet, it accounts for 16% of traffic deaths. Road crashes kill 24 out of 100,000 people. This dramatic situation can largely be explained by the absence of national road safety agencies and the lack of coordination among countries. Many African Heads of State acknowledge that road safety is a priority, which is a positive development.
The second concern relates to high-risk activities, such as deep offshore oil drilling. When poorly managed, these operations can lead to human, environmental and economic disasters. While there may be real technical skills on site, not enough has been done to educate workers about risks.
Lastly, the third issue facing Africa is the lack of a true safety culture. This largely results from the fact that industry is still relatively new on the continent and a safety culture has not yet had time to become firmly established in people’s minds. The large number of service providers working on major local projects make it harder to build a shared knowledge base.

 

interview-marcel.jpg
Road safety issues are one of the major obstacles to Africa’s development

Marcel Simard Professor of Occupational Health and Safety

 

How can private companies help improve safety in Africa?

M.S.: Private companies operating in Africa play a crucial role because they bring their road safety and industrial expertise as well as the resources necessary for successfully completing their projects. They determine the technical standards that they and their service providers must meet. They are also responsible for working closely with Africans and Total is well aware of this.

 

Which of Total’s industrial and road safety solutions do you consider most effective?

M.S.: In Africa, Total continues to expand its operations and contribute to local economic and social development by making safety a number one priority. Not all major industrial companies have done the same. In terms of safety, Total has taken a number of measures that I consider worthwhile, such as developing a safety management system and, with regard to offshore drilling operations, installing the HORUS underwater station, which continually monitors geohazards using a preventive approach. I also think Total’s efforts in Angola have been exemplary. In 2010, the subsidiary evaluated the security culture by surveying all employees. The effects of the resulting action plans continue to be felt today.

 

 

Instilling good safety habits

Safety problems still cause too many deaths in Africa, requiring a change in behaviours. But changing attitudes takes time. A number of measures must be taken to help build a long-term safety culture in the field. At Group-level, Total brings together everyone from operations staff to managers around a common approach and a commitment shared with service providers.

Creating the conditions for buy-in and sharing

One of Total’s major safety goals is to encourage best practices to the point they become second nature. The Group participates in World Safety Day every year as a way to motivate employees to share the appropriate behaviours. These behaviours are known and formalized as the list of 12 “Golden rules for safety at work”. But dictating standards is not enough for raising awareness. We also need to ensure that each employee truly buys into them as part of a shared culture. Total E&P Congo, for example, selected six priority projects for improving the subsidiary’s safety culture. “These projects were developed with the help of more than 3,000 employees and industrial partners, who were surveyed about their views on safety,“ says Alexis Mayet, Head of the Operations Safety Department in the subsidiary’s HSE Division. “The ‘Safety Leadership‘ program, the first to be rolled out, led to workshops where managers could join forces to develop better safety tools.” In addition, a peer leader program was created to spread the lessons learned on a wider basis and increase field staff buy-in. Selected due to their role as “opinion leaders”, these employees coach their colleagues and share best practices, which the latter then pass on to others.
One of the peer leaders, Marcel Ngouama, a Senior Mechanic at the offshore Alima site, gives a thumbs-up to this approach: “All week, I observe the teams’ behaviour at the site and each Sunday, I hold a safety meeting with all the trades. It’s an opportunity to go over the Golden Safety Rules based on specific examples and to encourage discussion. In a year and a half, I’ve noticed real improvements in the field.”

RTC: a program that provides both theorical and pratical training.

Training in theory, with a focus on practice

To take efforts to spread the safety culture a step further, Total also relies on training. We created an innovative centre in Tunisia that covers all logistics fields and is called the Radès Training Center by Campus (RTC). Available to staff working for Total and its partners, the center mainly aims to enhance the skills of risk management professionals all along the oil supply chain, including product storage, transport and distribution in service stations.

The Radès Training Center by Campus in Tunisia can accommodate up to 1,000 professionals per year for training.

The center provides a grounding in theory but mainly focuses on practical knowledge because it is convinced that safety depends as much on following rules as it does on taking the appropriate steps. In both cases, the quality of teaching must be a top priority. For that reason, the RTC uses state-of-the-art facilities and brings in experts such as APTH*, a loyal partner of Total’s in the transport industry. On the campus, for example, Total built a 500 m3 vertical tank, a depot maintenance workshop and a working service station to conduct training under real-life conditions.

* Association pour la prévention dans les transports d’hydrocarbures (an oil and gas transport safety organization).

 

In 2014, 128 employees and industrial partners of Total E&P Congo, all sites combined, participated in “Safety Leadership” workshops, whose dynamic and educational format included role play and simulations.

 

 

MAKING SAFETY A KEY TRADE PRIORITY

Because our trucks travel hundreds of thousands of kilometres every year to transport our products across the continent, road safety is one of our major commitments toward both our teams, partners and local populations

 

Establish and enforce rules

Guidelines and internal procedures, Golden rules, a road transport improvement program, a dedicated transport management system: these are some of the standards and methods Total has put in place over the past 10 years in Africa to improve petroleum product transport, which is particularly risky. In December 2012, the Africa-Middle East (AME) Division of Total Marketing & Services initiated a transporter inspection program to ensure compliance. “We wanted to make sure they were meeting Group standards while also sharing the same skills and safety culture,” says Pierre Prod’Homme, Head of Transport Logistics for the AME Division. These inspections, conducted by independent contractors, evaluate driver training, fleet technical standards, trip management and whether the carrier has a transport management system.

A Total tnaker-truck fills up in Mozambique.

Create lasting progress

The evaluation would make no sense without a desire for  long-term improvement as well as appropriate measures for achieving that goal. As a result, the inspections are generally followed by an improvement plan, which is the target of another inspection the following year. From December 2012 to December 2014, over 90% of transporters under contract with Total were inspected. Most of them were found compliant with the standards and thus able to move forward. Contracts were cancelled, however, for those that did not receive satisfactory results on the evaluation and did not follow the improvement plan. In addition to the inspection, Total cooperates with its transporters on an ongoing basis. The initial results were fast in coming, with a 31% reduction in the number of serious accidents from 2013-2014 in the Africa-Middle East perimeter. “In the end, the carriers no longer see these inspections as a hindrance but as a way to improve their performance, optimize their fleet and increase their competitive edge,” says Mehmet Celepoglu, HSEQ and Sustainable Development Vice President for the AMO division. The program has been so successful that Total plans to expand it to all contractors working at its industrial sites and service stations.

 

EDUCATING POPULATIONS ABOUT ROAD SAFETY

Total educating populations about road safety

80% of traffic deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Africa is the most affected continent– with 24 people out of 100,000 dying on the road*– which costs 1 to 5% of its GDP each year**. Total is fully equipped to fight this scourge. Aware of its social responsibility, the Group conducts awarenessraising programs among the most vulnerable populations: drivers of two-wheeled vehicles, pedestrians and children.

 

 

Strength through cooperation

Sharing expertise is key to finding the best solutions. For that reason, Total became a member of the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) in 2005, joining associations, development agencies and other private companies. According to Barry Watson, its Chief Executive Officer, “The GRSP aims to reduce the number of road-crash deaths and injuries worldwide by creating and supporting road safety partnerships in various sectors. We particularly focus on low- and middle-income countries, which are experiencing a rapid increase in motor vehicle use and growing rates of traffic accidents.” And to further expand their long-term, global efforts, Total and the GRSP are aligning their programs with the United Nations’ Decade of Action for Road Safety for the 2011-2020 period. This is a worldwide action plan based on five pillars: road safety management, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road users, and post-crash response.

 

Targeted efforts

Africa is crisscrossed by heavily trafficked routes with high accident rates that need to be the focus of road safety programs. In partnership with the World Bank, Total identified two priority routes where action was needed: one between Kenya and Uganda (Mombasa-Kampala) and the other connecting between Cameroon and Chad (Douala-N’Djamena). In order to act as effectively as possible, Total created a forum in 2012 called Safe Way Right Way (SWRW), which brings together private
companies, local and national authorities, NGOs and international institutions. SWRW offers a number of initiatives in those areas. In Kenya, for example, it trains drivers of twowheeled vehicles, support local authorities (radar equipment) and funded a first aid centre in Salgaa (North of Nairobi). Recognized for its expertise, SWRW Kenya has also been consulted by the authorities during the drafting of legislation, such as the Traffic Amendment Bill, which sets a maximum speed limit of 30 km/h in school zones.

Educating schoolchildren in Madagascar.

Educating the most vulnerable segment of the population

Caution and good road safety habits are learned from a very early age. Well aware of this fact, Total subsidiaries also target children, the population segment most vulnerable to this hostile environment. Total is educating children ages 6 -12 about the issue with its program “On the road for your safety”: 33 subsidiaries in Africa and the Middle East have rolled out this initiative, reaching more than 450,000 children from 2012 to 2014. The program also seeks to improve infrastructure with the participation of all stakeholders concerned.

Road safety is child’s play

Road safety is child’s play “On the road for your safety” is based on an innovative tool: a red “safety cube” containing many fun and educational learning materials for teachers and students. These include course booklets, accessories and, above all, a miniature replica of a road that is set up in the schoolyard so children can practice what they learned in the classroom. After completing the program, the students receive a certificate and some of them become “road safety ambassadors” for the school system, which gives the children a sense of responsibility and heightens the program’s impact.

* Source: WHO report, Global Status Report on Road Safety, 2013.
** Source: World Bank report Transport for Health, 2014.