Making the oil and gas sector safer 

This is a guest post by Cameron MacGillivray, president and CEO of Enform, the safety association for Canada’s upstream oil and gas industry:

Cameron MacGillivray of Enform

Cameron MacGillivray, president & CEO of Enform

Every year, the oil and gas sector spends billions of dollars on safety research, innovations and programs. That’s a lot of knowledge and expertise and it becomes most valuable when it’s shared.

That’s where Enform comes in. As a safety organization, we don’t just provide safety training and resources – we also play an active role in identifying the most challenging safety issues and helping develop systems for solving those issues.

Our focus is to promote safety awareness across the sector – from exploration companies to the transmission pipeline industry – and to enable companies within the sector to work together when it comes to safety.

Safety starts with the culture

We believe that to have a good safety record, a company must have a ‘culture of safety’. It means that safety is valued, and reflected in the behaviours and attitudes of everyone at every level of their organization – from the CEO to the newest field worker.

We also believe that safety culture starts at the top – if the leaders in a company don’t believe in it, neither will the workers. But more than that, if the leaders in a company don’t know how to communicate their commitment to safety, then safety won’t become part of the organizational culture.

A sector-wide safety culture

Building safety into the culture of their organizations is the reason the main industries of the upstream oil and gas sector have come together, in conjunction with Enform, to create an executive task force on safety culture. The aim is to develop a common vision and a strategic approach to safety culture that works for everyone in oil and gas, based on shared knowledge.

Because, even though the specific safety systems of an exploration company might seem very different from those of a pipeline company, there’s a great deal they can learn from each other when it comes to creating an organizational safety culture.

We’ll also use the task force as a forum to communicate with regulators and other stakeholders to ensure that safety is a top priority at every stage of every oil and gas project.

How pipelines fit in

Because we’re looking for consistency and a common approach to safety, it’s important to the task force that all areas of oil and gas have the opportunity to play their part. They each have their own unique challenges and requirements, and they have a great deal of expertise to share.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) has already been very active in promoting safety culture to their members, and in many ways the transmission pipeline industry is at the forefront when it comes to safety research and innovation.

The lessons they’ve learned and the progress they’ve made are valuable to other organizations – both in a general sense, and also more specifically for companies who operate their own feeder and gathering pipelines.

Oil and gas companies have been evolving their safety systems and their safety performance for decades, but the opportunity to work together on a unified approach will make us better as an entire sector.

You can read more about the task force in this post: ‘How industry leaders are working together to advance safety culture’. And check out these other Enform blog posts about safety culture.

About Enform

Enform is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting safety within the upstream oil and gas industry.


The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 117,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada. In 2014, these energy highways moved approximately 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Our members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s daily natural gas and onshore crude oil from producing regions to markets throughout North America.