Safety in all its operations is one of Gran Tierra’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, GTE maintained a low injury frequency rate in 2018, even as the company intensified its exploration and development activities.

Lost Time Injury Frequency - # of incidents per 200K hours worked (LTIF) 0.13 0.07 0.07
Hours Worked 4,558,133 8,733,985 10,974,872
Safety Inspections Conducted 1,329 2,200 2,950
Number of Emergency Simulations (Tabletop and In-Person) 87 135 295

Safety Programs

Gran Tierra has a simple objective with regard to safety: ensure that no one gets hurt as a consequence of our operations. To achieve that goal the company will systematically assess risks and take actions to eliminate or reduce areas of safety concern, including:

  • 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 and we will be held accountable for our performance to Gran Tierra’s senior management and to 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.

A number of learning tools were developed for Mision Vida. One of these, 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. To create this tool, smart glasses with embedded video cameras were purchased, and an online application was developed to allow over 600 workers to easily participate in the program.

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 where safety representatives of each of the contractors get together to share results and best practices. In 2017, each contractor was required to bring both operations and safety personnel to ensure correct assessment of safety trends and work towards further integration between GTE and contractors in order to strengthen the safety culture at all sites.

As a result of Gran Tierra’s efforts to strengthen its safety systems and programs, the company’s 2018 safety record showed that the Lost Time Injure Frequency (LTIF) remained the same as in 2017, even as the work hours increased. The Lost Time Injury Frequency (LTIF) is a commonly used measurement of safety performance and in 2018 the rate was 0.07.

Emergency Response Training

In adherence to GTE’s Emergency Response plan, the company carries out periodic emergency response training exercises. In 2018, the company conducted 295 tabletop or in-person emergency simulations which assessed the company’s preparedness to deal with various emergency scenarios.

Management System

In response to the company goal to improve the way its Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) policies are implemented in the field, Gran Tierra began making changes in its HSE management system (HSEMS) in 2016. The new system strengthens the company’s HSEMS organizational structure, clarifies responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources and improves the ability of corporate and HSE management teams to monitor performance and track policy compliance on a timely basis. This involves important corporate social responsibility issues, such as stakeholder engagement, local employment, land access, environmental monitoring and compliance, local business development, and stakeholder relationships.

Five Innovative Safety Programs

A Safety School for GTE’s Managers

As part of the continuing integration of operations teams into safety processes, 75 of the company’s managers have completed 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.

Additional managers will continue to be trained throughout 2020.

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

Atento Voice Messages Project

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

The pilot program involves three 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 analysing the observations and generating data and feedback in real time. Based on the initial results of this pilot, more kiosks will be placed on worksites including drilling rigs in the future.

Preventing Hand Injuries

One of the most common risks in the oil and gas industry is the potential for injury to the hands of workers in the field. Gran Tierra’s Hand Injury Prevention, or HIP, program trains workers to keep their hands safe as they engage in the variety of activities. HIP utilizes a camera built into safety glasses to capture a worker’s task on video. The video with real data is then fed into an application that presents the right procedures to trainees. Trainees must answer questions while watching the procedures. The application keeps a score that tells HSE if the trainee has the required knowledge to keep his or her hands safe. The HIP program rests on the theory that using real data results in better training, which in turn generates better knowledge and leads to real awareness.

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.