What to expect
How many times have you beat your head against the wall until your growing a unicorn horn sized bruise in the middle of your forehead because of your frustration with persistently trying to get your foot in the door for a job? Because you have been given the “Sorry man, but we are looking for someone with a little bit more experience…” answer? Or, “We’re on a hiring freeze,” “Industry downturn,” “We are actually just ‘catfishing’ on the internet to see if you’d come drop by your application,” etc. So, for the sake of this guide, let me help you get that position we the steps you need to take in order to get there. And if you like what you read, I have the entire IN-DEPTH easy-to-use Advanced 7-step guide when you sign up for free. Enjoy! Real quick though, in the oil & gas industry, we have several different names for the position of HSE; such as Health & Safety, Safety Man, Safety Manager, HS&E, Environmental Safety, Compliance, etc. For the purpose of this guide, we will use the ‘HSE’ title to describe the position.
The overall duties of an HS&E employee in any organization or the “safety” position for that matter, boils down to effective regulatory compliance & risk management. Oil & gas companies are constantly seeking HS&E professionals that keep their safety records immaculate and their documentation compliant with FERC institutions.
HS&E Goals Include:
Minimize worker risk
Increase worker efficiency
High ratings on ISNetworld, Veriforce, & PEC Premier
Regulatory compliant procedures & documentation
Complete the Objectives
First, you must write a summary for the HSE position. Please do not rush this section because you may get someone not fit for the job and have buyer’s remorse. Write a detailed job description that includes the daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly objective a HSE must solve. It is also vital to work with other business divisions when writing the roles/objectives of the hire in order to give the full job scope.
The HSE is not a lone wolf. This person has a team to make the safety unit of the company be successful with what business goals they have in that department. It must be closely integrated with operations, human resources, management, & employees in the field. The outcome of your risk mitigation really depends heavily on the synchronization of your safety strategy with other business divisions. You must be ready to highlight concrete performance objectives of goals and expectations. What is required of to be successful as an HS&E pro? You will have more work to do on your downtime than other HS&E experience workers in your office or industry, but once you gain experience, you will be a valuable asset. That’s because safety & regulations are becoming more strict, which means more compliance, more thorough safety procedures, and more HS&E workers. So, lets get down to it with some of the opportunities that will come your way to get in this growing field.
This process may take 2 or 3 months or 2 – 3 weeks. Really depends on many factors. The fastest way to get in the door is to reach out to your network and start asking them to hire you. Remember what to wear for the interview, a simple suit & tie (no 3-piece), professional watch (not flashy or bling-blingy), dress shoes, resume on resume paper, references, and homework you have researched on the company; which means questions you have for them. This is as much as an interview for them as it is for you.
The oil and gas industry in Texas is a sub-culture in of its own. West TX, cowboys, booming Eagle Ford shale, Houston — mecca of oil & gas in North America, Dallas with it’s Barnett, and so forth. Many candidates flock here to get a job so companies in Texas will have a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) they are searching for that will move the candidate forward. I’m not implying that you don’t have to own a 713, 817 or 210 (Texas area codes) phone number. However, be aware that companies may take longer than usual to hire due to how much competition is in the market.
Worst Mistake You Can Make
Get to know the candidate! That is why we suggest that you meet with the prospective candidate 2x or 3x with employees from different business divisions. It is difficult to get to know a candidate in a one-hour interview session.
In the interview process, companies are looking for discrepancies that would red flag to you the possibility that the candidate is not a good fit for your company. One of the worst mistakes your company can make is selecting a candidate that is close-minded to work with teammates which would eventually cost the organization thousands of dollars in this mistake.
Employee traits such as withdrawing information or placing himself/herself ahead of the team are poison to your company. Often people that do not work together are fearful of losing their value, high totem pole level, and control if they give knowledge and experience with other employees. It is vital that those employees be removed from your organization to stop the process from further weakening the company.
Understands MS Office
MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook are used everyday by many oil/gas companies. The days are gone when the employees hired from the field can get a HSE job within the company via internal hire. If your organization would like to promote from within, the candidate will take the right courses initially. There are many programs being offered by ongoing education facilities to keep employees up to date with compliance. It is hard to measure promoting someone when they would frequently require help with formatting word pages. Your company does not have time for those “Time-Wasters.”
Advanced proficiency with MS Office
Most of us know how to run a computer and work the functions. Intermediate users will be able to fully embrace MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Writing a comprehensive report will require things such as a table of contents (ToC), electronic signatures, and embedded images with descriptions. Workers with this tool set will speed up continuing tasks and be more productive.
Other vital skill sets
PowerPoint/Slide Share is used to make presentations. Is the HS&E candidate able to create slides filled with elegant rich images, interactive features, and media? Also, publishing the slides to the internet if needed? This skillset has dawned on many companies as some crucial important professional requirements to obtain in the candidate’s skillset. This is because the team needs to be able to easily consume the material you are producing. Does it resonate with the workers so that their risk out in the field is minimized as much as possible is the centered focus.
The software Visio should be a necessity as well. Growing workflows such as JSA’s (Job Safety Analysis) require some technical capabilities, and OSHA/DOT have compliant documents of the JSA’s on their website. There are many tools out there that a HSE employee needs to be familiar with to become more effective with the company’s safety objectives . If they don’t, they will have to be coachable and sponge up as much information they can handle to be more effective. The more skill-sets obtained, the more valuable. Employees that are slow to grasp utilizing technology to help them increase their productivity will end up costing your business in optimizing efficiency and will become a dead-end down the road when harnessing new technologies from the company. If your employees are not interested in helping the company become optimal, you have to ask yourself why do they not want to become better? This question comes to our next session.
The potential HS&E hire has to convey traits of being a leader daily. That’s because, again, employees’ lives are at stake. Plan on performing mock safety training sessions in the conference room for practice. This will increase the clarity of your safety meeting which will help employees become aware of certain hazards and place you more into subject expert due to the self-training that is being practiced til the leadup of the meeting. Leaders are consistently coaching employees to make them better, utilized as a resource to make employees lives more effective on the job, and motivates the employee to evolve in their career paths. The HS&E candidate must be trusting, deep level of understanding of regulatory compliance, and the ability to connect with employees that resonates on both a positive work/personal level. A HSE professional is in charge with a mountain of duties within the company, so much thorough consideration is taken in before a final decision is made.
Texas shale play problems
Unfortunately, there were some oil/gas problems that came with explosive shale growth since 2008. We are in another decline in the Texas oil industry, it will not be forever, just for a while. Due to the vicious cycle of oil prices in the energy industry, your company will sustain a heavy volume of applicants during this downturn. How does your company pick a worker who will stay with your company for many years vs. several months? We have seen workers moving from company to company in order to lock in the highest day rate or compensation. Some hires who you might find will be hunting the highest bidder only, DON’T DO THIS. It’s about being the right fit, not money. Unless there are no other options, I wouldn’t risk my reputation unless all options are weighted until you move forward with a company. When hiring a potential HSE pro, Human Resources is through with contacting references and previous employers. They will question all gaps within employment on your resume. So make sure that every entry in your resume is accurate and that there are no grammar errors! If you do not take the time to do you homework on your targeted company you’d like to work for, you can find out what they are exactly looking for in an HS&E pro. Contact friends who work at the company, LinkedIn profiles of the HS&E professionals at the company mentioning their summary’s at the company you’re targeting, and the company website under “Safety” section.
Former employers have created your potential hire to what that person is in front of you. Your candidate has a particular personality or work mindset that might not be a good fit for your organization. What best practice does your company strive to become?
You might find it a great opportunity to hire someone from a large E&P company such as Exxon or Chevron. Such companies often employ strict methods and approaches due to the massive scale of their global operations. A person from a company like that might be very interested in applying the same mindset and practices to achieve your HSE agenda. It is not a bad or good thing that you should not hire an individual from a big company like Exxon or Chevron. Instead, most organizations look for an HS&E leader that possesses energy, intelligence, training, & integrity than the prestige of company that a candidate has worked with.
Having your National Construction Safety Officer (NCSO), Basic Plus, and TWIC card is top-level as they come. I also want to note why we decided to mention the NCSO certification. Now imagine you finally hire an HSE and your field safety manager is not going to be at a job due to an emergency. Your HSE has to jump in for the field safety manager. The operator will require that all safety personnel working on their site require an NCSO cert. It is crucial to have that “plan b” in your toolset if something does happen that you were not prepared to foresee.
Your company will want to hire a HSE hire that at the bare minimum has their Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) certification. Be wary, there are many potential hires that dive into the HSE jobs because they heard in the grapevine that it is a fast way to make money.
Look at potential hires that have certs in jobs that can cross over to the oil/gas industry. Look at workers that present themselves as adaptable, open-minded, and passionate students of learning more about the industry. You will want those hires because they will always strive to push your business forward.
Companies will start looking at potential hires with experience, training programs, & then college degrees in that order. So if you shift focus on training with the trades instead of college, you’re chances of getting in the door are high (who would have thought that!?). Organizations also prefer candidates with an OHS diploma or an undergraduate OHS degree because normally they have been taught niche skills that are hard to possess. Writing skills, compliant documentation, proper PPE, the level of organization in the safety department, etc. Most importantly, it’s the ability to have your team look to you as a subject matter expert which follows necessary protocol for a stellar safety record. If accidents/incidents are low, the safety record in each platform is in great shape, the more business will be able to be captured by the company.
Also, the CRSP certification. Many companies will want a CRSP cert. The BCRSP website shows that the CRSP cert will obtain a higher compensation and prestige among their employees. Many companies will make it mandatory for a CRSP cert for their applicants. There is no proven data or detailed studies to assume that hiring an employee with a CRSP cert will make your HSE solutions more effective, but it will raise your level of training to add more value to the company. As far as what’s required? The HSE candidate must hold an OHS cert as a bare minimum.
Experience is crucial for the HSE position for using best practice proven methods to solve problems. Look for at least of 4 years for the CRP position. A minimum of 3 years of job-site experience is not too hard to acquire that can have some of oil/gas experience. There are a ton of HSE potential hires that are looking for employment in the current oil/gas downturn.
Now, let’s focus on field knowledge of professionals. Field leadership is basically managing a group of 10 to 25 workers at the least. Where did we come up with that number? With a bigger group of professionals, the HSE manager has to utilize how to manage processes, workers, corporate management, sub-contractors, and direct employees. So you see the level of worker hierarchy will have a significant amount of employees to keep a focused amount of attention on. Remember, you will have to execute safety meetings, job-site meetings often, kick-off meetings for job projects, and visual conference calls to the operator(s) at the job-site. These include leading multi-site orientations, creating vast incident safety reports, implementing safe work solutions, working with drug-test facilities, proper compliance paperwork to submit, communicating with corporate, check inspections, lock-out & tag-out procedures, PPE management, etc.
In conclusion, for the potential HSE hire to have knowledge in all of these places, the HS&E candidate will have to immerse himself in the position’s education requirements. Once you have a good understanding of the procedures of the job duties, ask to shadow an HS&E manager to get hands-on experience to get your feet wet in the industry. Lastly, as the HS&E pro, you must be able to use knowledge and keep up to date with new trends/practices to further benefit the bottom line of the company. Stay on top of OSHA/DOT/PHMSA regulations and tweak your documentation based on new laws being passed if need be. You can subscribe to their newsletter to stay on top of updates or visit their websites to see any upcoming industry news.
Check out the step-by-step advanced 7 step guide here to get your career started.