Safety and health with the Chad and Cameroon Project

The project’s multi-layered approach to safety led in 2016 to the best record in the history of the project. COTCO and TOTCO have not had a reportable injury in over two and a half years, and EEPCI experienced only one recordable incident — a dog bite. The Cameroon Ministry of Health credited a new addition to COTCO’s public health programs with saving the lives of 59 snakebite victims.

Article Aug. 13, 2017

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Safety and health with the Chad and Cameroon Project

2016: Best safety record in project history

For years, the project’s Recordable Incident Rate has been well below the average rate of the U. S. petroleum industry as a whole, and in 2016 it outperformed this benchmark by a factor of almost 10. The industry benchmark for the U.S. petroleum industry is derived from reports to the American Petroleum Institute by participating companies. The project achieves these results through setting long-term goals, strict adherence to operational integrity protocol and maintaining an employee culture that is highly focused on safety at work and at home.

ChadCameroon_2016 Recordable Incident Rate

The project’s excellent safety record can be attributed to work management practices that, taken together, ensure that every task is carried out safely. One of these practices, the Komé Integrated Leadership Team, or KILT, was started in 2014 to subject higher risk activities to a ‘’cold-eyes” review by project leadership. As a result of KILT’s success, another team, the Komé Integrated Supervisor Safety Team, or KISST was created in 2016.

​Teams reviewing findings

The two multidisciplinary teams, comprised of high-level EEPCI leaders, alternate every two weeks reducing unsafe behavior by increasing the visibility of supervisors at work sites; ensuring compliance with safety standards; providing positive reinforcement for work safety behaviors; and building employee self-confidence. In addition to regular visits to work sites to conduct observations and provide feedback, the teams review all findings together and communicates them to the Operations Superintendent (above).

Well work safety

Team building and a talented workforce were important factors in the project’s excellent safety record in 2016. This included creating a more inclusive environment in which leaders reach across cultural and language differences, getting to know each individual as a part of the team. In addition, EEPCI’s well work team, which operates the Toumaï rig, is subject to multiple levels of safety observations and daily reporting. In 2017, the team is planning to build on its success by simplifying the procedures they are required to follow during any activity.

EPCIs well work team operates the Toumai rig
People make the difference here. By far, this is the most excellent team of guys to work with. Our guys always want to get the job done safely and are always looking to learn and are willing to step into the next role. This kind of attitude brings volumes to the efficiency of our operation. They say that respect is earned, not given, and every one of these guys has earned my respect.
Waylon Capner
Waylon Capner

Toumaï Rig Manager

Bourma Irimde
Photo — “Safety has really changed me. I now am constantly alert to different hazards, and I make sure that something is safe before doing it. You can never be 100 percent safe; we always need our peers to look out for us, whether it’s family or our colleagues.” – Bourma Irimde, 2015 EEPCI Safety Person of the Year.

EEPCI safety person of the year

The project is always looking for ways to remind its employees and contractors to keep safety front-of-mind at all times. In 2015, EEPCI inaugurated a program to recognize safety leaders throughout the organization. The Safety Department nominates candidates based on the safety-related behavior they demonstrate over the year not only to keep themselves safe but also to keep others safe. Once the nominating process is complete, the winner is chosen based on a vote by the nominees’ peers. Bourma Irimde, currently a Procurement Associate, was named EEPCI’s 2015 Safety Person of the Year.

In 2015 Bourma was a General Services supervisor at the Komé 5 production facility in the OFDA. He had a solid record of being personally safe, but the activity that voters said made him the Safety Person of the Year was his practice of making hazard reports that very likely prevented injuries. The most memorable occurred when he saw a team mixing a liquid pesticide for mosquito fogging, a routine activity. One man was wearing the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required for proximity to concentrated chemicals, but two members of the team did not.

Bourma identified this as a hazardous situation and, as encouraged by the Actively Caring Program, he stopped the work. He met with the team at a safe distance from the work site and, having learned the men had not been adequately trained, explained the hazards associated with the chemicals they were using. Bourma discussed the situation with their supervisor and recorded the incident and outcomes for analysis per normal guidelines. Bourma also arranged for the men to attend a series of safety training sessions.

2016 health care consultations


Number of healthcare consultations

10841 health care consultations in 2016

Free health care consultations for workers at project clinics are a valued job benefit in Chad and Cameroon, where health care can be difficult to obtain, especially in rural areas. The majority of this care involves illness or other health conditions unrelated to the workplace. For full time direct employees of the company, this benefit extends to immediate family as well.

ChadCameroon_2016 Malaria infection rate

TOTCO’S First Annual Contractor Safety Conference

With the Export Transportation System (ETS) now shipping crude produced by three companies and the possibility of additional shippers in the future, TOTCO has grown both its activities and interfaces with external stake holders. In 2016, the company conducted its own Annual Contractor Safety Conference after a joint annual conference with EEPCI to focus specifically on its key activities with contractors.

Chad contractor safety workshops
We decided to have separate workshops with our own contractors so we can focus more on our activities and how we can work better with them to ensure nobody gets hurt. Last year we had zero incidents, and this year we had one [a dog bite], so this was a good opportunity to reinforce our commitment to safety.
Alladoum Nandogongar
Alladoum Nandogonar

ETS Operations Superintendent, TOTCO

COTCO’S collaboration with Cameroon Ministry of Health saves 59 lives

The latest example of COTCO’s collaboration with the Cameroonian Ministry of Health produced immediate dramatic results in 2016. According to the Ministry, a pilot project established in April to reduce deaths from poisonous snakebites saved 59 lives by year-end using antivenom donated by COTCO.

Dr MM Ekani donating antivenoms
Photo — Dr. MM Ekani donating antivenoms to the Head of Touboro Health District.

The catalyst for the pilot project was a Ministry study which showed up to 10 snakebite fatalities a month in villages near the pipeline right of way in northern Cameroon. Dr. Marie Madeline Ekani, director of COTCO’s Medicine and Occupational Health Department, advised company management that local health districts did not have access to antivenoms, which are often expensive and time consuming to produce and store.

Recognizing that lives were at stake, COTCO authorized funding for the purchase and donation of doses of antivenom and training of local medical staff in managing snakebite cases. The training was held at COTCO’s Pump Station 2 near the village of Dompta and involved 15 physicians and nurses from eight health centers in the Touboro Health District.

A total of 182 doses of antivenom were donated to the Health District medical chief who distributed them to targeted health centers. The pilot project also developed an epidemiologic and clinical guideline for monitoring the results, as well as a follow-up plan.

The Ministry reported in December that within eight months of the project’s start it had saved 59 lives from the communities along the pipeline in the northern part of the country and had significantly reduced mortality related to snakebites in the Toubouro Health District from 40 percent in 2015 to almost 4 percent.

The black mamba is one of Cameroon’s deadliest snakes.

Photo of the Black Mamba snake.

The Consortium sponsors a campaign to fight childhood malnutrition

As in many countries, childhood malnutrition remains a problem in Chad, causing many deaths. In November 2016, the Consortium (Esso, Petronas and SHT) launched a campaign in cooperation with the Guinebor II Hospital to fight malnutrition in children in the N’Djamena area. The Consortium’s sponsorship included donating funding to the hospital for the construction of two waiting areas for patients.

Parents brought more than 200 children to the launch event, where they were examined by the hospital staff. In fitting with the hospital’s mission, those suffering from malnutrition were provided with free medical care.

Also in attendance were local officials and a delegation from the Consortium led by Christian Lenoble, General Manager of Esso Chad, who presented the hospital with the Consortium’s donation and urged parents to contact health professionals before a child's malnutrition can worsen.

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