Safety in all its operations is one of Gran Tierra Energy’s highest priorities.

To ensure safety is front of mind for all employees and contractors, the company systematically assesses risks and acts to eliminate or reduce areas of concern. It also implements proven safety management systems, procedures and tools with the goal of reducing accident and injury rates to zero. As a result, 2020 was the safest year in company history in terms of Lost Time Injuries Frequency (LTIF) and Total Recordable Injury Frequency (TRIF). The company’s LTI frequency of 0.00 was well below both the most recent industry averages of 0.42 for Latin America and 0.30 for North America, as reported by the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers.

Lost Time Injury Frequency - # of incidents per 200K hours worked (LTIF) 0.07 0.02 0
Hours Worked 10,974,872 16,738,737 7,729,973
Safety Inspections Conducted 2,950 3,850 2,888
Number of Emergency Simulations (Tabletop and In-Person) 295 450 250

Safety Programs

Gran Tierra has a simple objective with regard to safety: ensure that no one gets hurt as a consequence of our operations. Actions that Gran Tierra undertakes to eliminate or reduce safety risks include:

  • Implementing proven safety management systems, procedures and tools with a goal of driving accident and incident rates to zero.
  • Working closely with contractors on our sites and insist that they also implement effective safety management processes.
  • Setting annual goals for safety performance. Oversight and accountability of our performance set by senior management and the Board of Directors.

GTE’s safety programs and practices include:

  • Implementing emergency management software for newly acquired facilities.
  • Psychosocial risk preventive activities such as reducing workplace stress and maintaining a supportive workplace environment.
  • Using a risk-based approach to direct resources to address risks where they are the greatest. The approach includes dozens of targeted audits and inspections, “Job Safety Analysis Meeting Reviews” with contractors and safety walk-arounds to different work sites.

A Framework for Safe Operations

Mision Vida ”, GTE’s proprietary system for safe operations, is a guide to safe work practices. Its foundation is based on a framework for changing attitudes about safety by recognizing the impact that one’s current mental and emotional condition can have on their perception and decision-making. This understanding then leads to increased safety-consciousness on the job. Through Mision Vida , GTE developed a job-specific HSE training plan, based on analyses of company and industry risks. It includes:

  • Basic training for all employees, regardless of their position.
  • Additional training modules for workers involved in high risk tasks.
  • Job-specific training modules that reflect the particular role being fulfilled.
  • Emergency response training for personnel designated as emergency responders.

Under this training program that started in 2017, 32 HSE training modules have been developed, with more than 62,000 hours of training completed by thousands of GTE’s employees.

A number of learning tools were developed for Mision Vida . One of these tools, the Hand Injury Prevention, or HIP, involves a series of videos, captured by GTE workers themselves, which allows the workers to get a first-person view of the various tasks and to understand safe and unsafe techniques. The video with real data is shared through an application that presents the correct procedures to trainees. The application documents a score of each trainee that is shared with the HSE team. The results determined from the HIP program suggest that using real data allows for better training, which in turn establishes more knowledge and awareness about hand safety in the workplace.

The Hand Injury Prevention Program (HIP) has reduced hand injuries by 80% compared to 2019.


Atento Voice Messages Project

A program called ‘Atento Voice ’ is also making it easier for Gran Tierra’s employees and contractors to communicate about safety.

The program involves kiosks with touchscreens and recording capabilities - one in each operating area. This makes it faster and easier for workers to make observations and also streamlines the process of collecting and analyzing the observations and generating data and feedback in real time.

The Golden Rules: A Safety-Based Video Game

While the topic of safety is unquestionably a serious one, Gran Tierra’s safety team recognizes that effective learning can happen in engaging, and sometimes fun, environments. In the past, these topics would have been addressed with presentations and meetings, but recently the company has created learning-focused video games as an additional method to teach workers proper safety procedures for doing six high risk tasks. In this case, players work in different locations on different high-risk tasks, asking questions, answering challenges and applying correct procedures.

Utilizing a video game in this way follows the scientific method of experimenting with ways to learn from mistakes. The players are evaluated and must pass to qualify to work on certain real-world tasks. The game, the first of its kind, is currently being adapted into an internet-based game to be more broadly accessible by GTE’s workers in the field.

The GPS Room: An Additional Set of Eyes on Safety

In GTE’s Bogotá headquarters, engineers are constantly on the lookout for potential hazards and opportunities to improve safe work management practices, watching live feeds across GTE’s field operations from 50 different cameras streaming 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the “Getting Performance Standard” (GPS) room.

The GPS room has been at the heart of the company’s strong safety performance each year, driving forward the culture of safety. Since the GPS room was introduced the number of interventions, including those originating in the field, has increased. The GPS room and the growth of the culture of intervention has also resulted in better standardization of work practices across all of GTE’s operations in Colombia.

Monthly Safety Contractor Meeting

Monthly safety meetings for contractors have been an important tool for educating contractors about GTE’s safety policies and procedures. This is a regular event attended by senior-level operations and HSE staff of each contractor.  During these meetings, the previous month’s performance and safety efforts are discussed.

Emergency Response Training

In adherence to GTE’s Emergency Response plan, the company carries out periodic emergency response training exercises. In 2020, the company conducted 250 tabletop or in-person emergency simulations which assessed the company’s preparedness to deal with various emergency scenarios.

A Safety School for GTE’s Managers

As part of the continuing integration of operations teams into safety processes, since 2019, 160 of the company’s managers completed an intensive, three-day hands-on Safety Leadership Training in Cartagena.

The course focuses on training the managers on risk factors and safe practices for the highest risk activities the company carries out. The curriculum, which was originally developed at Texas A&M University and was adapted by GTE, is delivered in partnership with a company that specializes in safety training. It is a blend of theoretical learning and practical exercises in specific areas, such as encountering hazardous materials, first aid, flammable substances, mechanical lifting, working at heights and in confined spaces.

The curriculum is also in alignment with Colombian Technical Standards as well as standards set by international organizations.

Throughout 2021, the second level of GTE’s High-Risk School will be offered online for managers to continue their safety training.

HSE’s Safe Driving Program

GTE works hard to eliminate unsafe conditions and practices at all of its facilities to protect workers and maintain the integrity of its operations. Once produced, the company’s crude is sold on site or transported to a different location for sale, often by road on trucks. This means that thousands of truck trips, often hundreds of kilometres long on a variety of roads, are necessary. All drivers transporting GTE’s crude work for independent trucking contractors.

Driving on Colombia’s roads brings a number of factors into the safety equation, including vehicle maintenance, road conditions, weather, pedestrians, animals, motorcycles and other vehicle drivers. To manage these risks, GTE’s Health, Safety and Environment Department (HSE) has developed a comprehensive driving plan that, added to their existing training, better prepares drivers for all of these factors.

GTE’s driving plan contains a number of focus areas, including:

  • Driver and instructor training
  • Detailed planning before each trip
  • Use of an in-vehicle monitoring system to improve driving behaviour
  • Random in-route audits to identify improvement and non-compliance
  • Road hazard assessments
  • Self-assessments for drivers