Health, safety and environment (HSE) management is a factor in virtually any business, but it is a top priority for companies in oil and gas production. Some operations in the energy industry are relatively risky for both personnel and the environment, posing unique challenges that reinforce the need for a strong, flexible and detailed management plan. Safety and environmental trends and regulations are constantly evolving, as are the techniques businesses use to achieve their HSE goals. Let’s explore some of the emerging trends in the industry projected for the year ahead.

Emphasis on Worker Stress and Mental Health

Employee health and safety is a major concern for workers and employers alike. Most drilling operations are equipped with numerous safety features and supplies to minimize the risk of serious injury on site. However, no amount of physical safety features can adequately address all aspects of worker health. Occupational stress, including demanding work hours and social pressure, are becoming a bigger concern for workers, regulators and the medical community in general. Many modern companies are developing and looking for new ways to help their employees manage stress and other mental health concerns related to their job.

Complying with Evolving Regulations

Oil and gas companies are subject to several sets of rules ranging from state laws to federal occupational health and safety regulations. Many company leaders struggle to stay on top of annual updates to these codes as well as other emerging business practices and compliance issues. This is one of the main reasons why members of the energy industry consider outsourcing their personnel needs to an established service provider like EPS. Hiring an experienced management team and workforce is a fast and simple way to maintain compliance.

Environmental Awareness and Protection

Concern about environmental impact isn’t just a matter of complying with regulations, it is also a key element of brand identity and value. Both the public and investing communities have a heightened interest in sustainable and safe practices. In 2019, many companies plan to go beyond the minimum requirements to achieve a higher level of environmental responsibility throughout their enterprise. This practice can also help prepare these companies to adapt to more stringent regulations in the future.

Digital Project Management Tools

While oil and gas operations still require significant manpower and manual effort, they are also reliant on computer technology. Software and other digital tools have become an essential component of the industry and this trend is likely to continue in the decades ahead. Site and operations managers can use digital project management tools to unify processes, share updated information and manage various tasks from a central platform. EPS implements cargo and material software solutions that include detailed manifests, vessel charters, consumption reporting and hazmat information.

Applications of Data Science

Advances in the quality and accessibility of IT solutions has propelled data science to the forefront of many industries, including energy production. Combining the disciplines of computer technology and statistical analysis can provide a powerful new perspective for business leaders. Companies can use data science to develop incredibly precise reports regarding expenses and other losses to find opportunities for improvement at every level of their organization. Data scientists can also create predictive models to help companies develop long-term business plans and create various contingency strategies.

Workforce Diversity and Company Culture

Interviewing applicants to find the most qualified individuals for each position is only the first step in forming an effective workforce. Ideally, workers and team members will possess a variety of skills, backgrounds and experiences that can be mutually applied to create value for the company. Modern employers are also taking a more active role in creating and propagating a specific culture to encourage employee engagement, motivation and loyalty. Companies can also benefit from this level of diversity and dedication by working with a third-party personnel provider, like EPS, that has already invested resources into cultivating a capable and synergistic professional team.

Trends can shift and change over time—modern companies can’t afford to simply ignore them. Many of the recent changes in the oil and gas industry represent fundamental, long-term shifts in core operating processes and business strategies. While shifting priorities, regulations and practices do present a challenge for company leadership, they are also opportunities to increase the overall value and improve safety for both workers and the environment.