Panther’s safety co-ordinator roughnecked for 10 years first

A key part of the safety side of the oil business is the in-house safety co-ordinators found at most companies with more than a few dozen staff.

At Weyburn’s Panther Drilling, that person is Myrna Gates. She has worked as a safety co-ordinator since 2006.

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At Panther, she’s responsible for their certificate of recognition (COR) program, which includes an internal audit every year, and an external audit every three years. She’s been doing those CORs for about nine years now, since the company got its initial certificate in 2011.

“The main thing is people understand the safety program,” she said.

That includes the employees, management and ownership. It means the supervisors all have an understanding of the safety aspects of the job.

Part of Gates’ responsibilities include staff recruitment. 

This past winter Panther had all four of its rigs working in December, which was the best performance the company had seen in several years. As a result, there were a few green hands brought on. They ensured those new hands were spread out throughout the fleet.

“We posted on different job sites looking for workers. We got quite a few resumés,” she said.

Gates knows a thing or two about working on the drill floor, as she roughnecked for 10 years, and filled in as a motorhand. She started working on rigs in 1997, working for Ensign. Much of her work was either at Minton or Steelman.

Mental health is a growing concern in the safety realm, she noted, and its something they are looking at addressing during safety training. “I know mental health is a topic we want,” she said.

Energy Safety Canada has a new supervisor program she’s interested in. “We want a leadership program so they understand,” Gates said.

“We keep all the equipment updated – SCBA (self contained breathing apparatus), fall arrest, fire extinguishers,” she said. Recertifications are kept up to date even if a rig has been sitting idle. Rig 1 had been sitting for a while, but they were able to get it fired up in time for its work this past winter.



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