Health and Safety

The top priority in Canada's oil and natural gas industry is the health and safety of workers, the public and communities.

Protecting our employees and contractors is imperative. The industry strives to ensure every worker goes home safe at the end of each work day. Part of achieving that goal is ensuring employees have the training and competency they need to remain safe on the job and support the safety of those with whom they work.

Training and Competency

Energy Safety Canada is an independent organization that issues regular safety alerts. The oil and natural gas industry works closely with Energy Safety Canada to develop recommended practices and provide training.

Canada’s oil and natural gas industry provides safety training so everyone understands risks and how to reduce them. Industry programs provide practical, on-site mentoring of new employees by more experienced staff to improve overall competency. Companies also help workers manage fatigue, conduct drug and alcohol testing to ensure that workers are not impaired on the job, and emphasize driving safety.

In addition to training, safety excellence is achieved through a number of process safety practices and regulations.

Regulations

Provincial and federal regulators are in place to ensure the safe and environmentally responsible development of Canada’s oil and natural gas resources over their entire life cycle. Comprehensive regulations and requirements are designed to maximize safety during exploration and production of oil and natural gas. Regulators play a key role in assuring safety.

Continuous Improvement

The oil and natural gas industry is advancing a safety culture based on a strong foundation of operational and corporate leadership and continuous improvement. Many companies conduct Safety Stand Downs and company executives and senior managers regularly visit frontline workers at facilities to talk about safety issues.

Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment Programs

Identification of hazards, risk assessment and the development, implementation and monitoring of controls is a critical process that supports the safety of people and the environment. The oil and natural gas industry is committed to the effective management of workplace hazards, and will eliminate hazards where practicable.

Emergency Response Plan

Emergency Response Plans (ERPs) are designed to ensure safety and are a vital tool to protect people in areas near oil and natural gas operations. ERPs address public and facility protection and ensure that all emergency responders have a clear plan of action.

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) requires all oil and natural gas companies to establish and maintain ERPs for their operations as part of Directive 071. ERPs are also required by the BC Oil and Gas Commission (BC0GC).

Auditing and Compliance

Company management systems may be aligned to a range of national and international standards, as well as provincial and federal regulatory requirements. Companies and regulators audit regularly to verify compliance with safety programs, standards and regulatory requirements. Audit programs and certifications are useful tools for verifying that systems are working and for identifying opportunities for improvement.

Protecting Workers Offshore

The offshore industry in Atlantic Canada operates in a challenging environment. The remoteness of offshore workplaces, transportation to and from offshore facilities and harsh weather conditions are examples of the challenges the offshore industry works to overcome.

The offshore industry develops comprehensive health and safety plans, which are submitted to regulators before any exploration, drilling or production activity is approved.

Learn About Offshore Safety

Partnership Safety Programs

These are voluntary programs in which employer and worker representatives work collaboratively with government to build effective health and safety management systems aimed at improving workplace safety. By improving health and safety, the social and financial costs of workplace injury and illness are reduced. The Partnership Programs award Certificates of Recognition (CORs) to employers that have developed health and safety management systems and met established standards.