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Selecting Safety-Minded Candidates

Updated: Dec 17, 2023


In the oil and gas industry, maintaining a culture of safety excellence is paramount, and the process starts right from the selection of employees. I've observed that while many companies focus on efficient onboarding, they often miss a crucial opportunity: embedding a safety-first mindset from the get-go. In this blog, we'll delve into the significance of assessing candidates' attitudes towards safety during the recruitment process and how it can bolster long-term safety performance.


Understanding the Value of Safety in Recruitment

Forward-thinking organizations understand that safety culture is a critical factor in incident prevention. This is why, similar to how they scrutinize vendors' safety records, they should also assess potential employees' safety orientations. It's not just about hiring skilled workers; it's about finding individuals whose safety values align with the company's ethos. Remember, every new hire is an opportunity to reinforce or reshape your safety culture.


The Influence of New Hires on Safety Culture

New employees, especially those in influential positions, can significantly impact the prevailing safety culture – for better or worse. Hiring someone who doesn't align with your safety values can introduce risk elements that might derail your safety efforts. It's crucial, therefore, to proactively evaluate how a potential hire might influence your safety culture.


Evaluating a Candidate's Safety Mindset

While background checks and competency assessments are standard, delving into a candidate’s safety philosophy is equally important. Simple yet effective strategies can be employed to gauge a candidate's safety mindset, even in resource-limited settings. For example, asking open-ended questions during interviews can reveal much about a candidate's views on safety. Here are some sample questions that can be insightful:


  1. Defining Safety: Ask the candidate to define safety. Look for answers that demonstrate a proactive approach, focusing on risk control and elimination, rather than just avoiding harm.

  2. Safety’s Role in an Organization: Probe into how they perceive safety's role in the workplace. Ideal responses should position safety as an integral value that enhances not just work operations but also employee well-being and the company's overall reputation.

  3. Journey to Zero Injuries: Inquire about their views on achieving and maintaining zero injuries. Passion and a commitment to behavioral safety are key traits to look out for.

  4. Roles and Responsibilities for Safety: Ask them to detail the specific actions and responsibilities they believe are crucial in fostering a safe work environment. This can shed light on how they might act and contribute to safety initiatives.


Selecting candidates who share your safety values is a strategic move towards sustaining occupational safety excellence. This approach not only ensures that new hires are likely to adhere to safety protocols but also sends a strong message about your organization's commitment to safety. By prioritizing safety-minded candidates, you reinforce the idea that safety is not just a policy but a core value of your organization.


In conclusion, embedding safety considerations into your hiring practices is more than a procedural step – it's a strategic decision that shapes the future of your organization’s safety culture. As we navigate the complex and often hazardous terrain of the oil and gas industry, let's remember: safety excellence begins with the right people.

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