August 2019, Vol. 246, No. 8

Editor's Notebook

Small Pipeline Team Invests Big in Safety

Pattie Shieh-Lance

Trying to convey a consistent and impactful safety message often presents a challenge for big companies. LyondellBasell recently marked their 10th anniversary of Global Safety Day, an annual event that involves every office, manufacturing site and research center around the world. Global Safety Day focuses attention on safety issues, including subjects not usually part of the work day conversation, such as identity theft prevention, grilling safety, mental health and even yoga.

Employees spend months creating everything from elaborate escape rooms, game shows, to a safety angled version of Cash Cab. The effort presents more of a challenge for the company’s small pipeline group based in Clear Lake, Texas, where employees monitor more than 1,400 miles of pipe stretching from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Lake Charles, Louisiana.

“We’re sometimes the square peg that doesn’t fit in the round hole, so we’re used to adapting,” said Matt Cesarz, LyondellBasell Pipeline technical manager. “We don’t have enough room to stage the more complicated activities and many of the staff is working independently in remote, isolated locations, but we do invest a lot of time and energy into creating a great event because safety is our top priority.”

The pipeline staff, led by Senior Safety Specialist and this year’s Global Safety Day Coordinator Bryan Thompson, embraced the theme of “We Are Family.” The company is coming off a record safety year and invited speakers from the La Porte Police Department and the Houston Fire Department.

“What really resonated this year was the interaction with area first responders,” Thompson said. “We think about safety a lot at work, but it may not be top of mind when you and the family are at the movies or in a restaurant. Getting that perspective from the police officers was very enlightening.”

Bringing the message even closer to home for the 200 employees and contractors in attendance was the Houston Fire Department and its presentation on home fire prevention.  

“At work we conduct regular fire drills, but do you do that at home? Do your children know how to get out and where to go? These are questions we must ask,” said Kim Lenz, LyondellBasell Health, Safety and Environment manager. “The speakers really got us thinking and that’s the goal of Global Safety Day.” 

Encouraged by the large turnout and solid feedback, Thompson is already thinking about next year’s event.

“We are a line across the map, not a dot, and because we’re often working on our own, I’d like to bolster first aid training,” Thompson said. “Every year we organize training for certifications in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator, but recently we’ve seen our area schools launch an effort called Stop the Bleed. This program teaches people what to do in a bleeding emergency because that can be the difference between life and death. That’s a valuable skill to have no matter where you are.”

Whether at work or home, safety remains a core value for everyone and awareness plays a critical role. A safe work environment is good for a company’s bottom line, but, more importantly, it’s also the right thing to do for employees and their families.

Pattie Shieh-Lance is the manager of U.S. External Communications and Community Relations for LyondellBasell. LyondellBasell is one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world and was named to Fortune Magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” for the second consecutive year in 2019. In 2018, LyondellBasell achieved its lowest Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) in the company’s history, and the company’s second-best Process Safety Incident Rate (PSIR).

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