Resources Allocated to Promote Safety Culture Advancement: 2022–23 CER Survey Results

As part of the Canada Energy Regulator’s (CER) Safety and Environment Oversight core responsibility, the CER requires companies to continually evaluate and improve the effectiveness of their management system in accordance with the Canadian Energy Regulator Onshore Pipeline Regulations. The CER also encourages companies to build and maintain a healthy safety culture to effectively manage threats to people and the environment.

To support the CER’s commitment to performance measurement and continual improvement, we annually survey regulated companies to provide information on resources allocated to promoting safety culture advancement. The CER has collected this information via an online survey over the past four years – the most recent survey period ended in March 2023.

The information collected is not intended to evaluate the performance of regulated entities. It is used to inform an evaluation of the CER’s Safety and Environment Oversight performance per the CER’s Departmental Results Framework (DRF).

2022–2023 Survey Results

This year, 66 companies were asked to describe resources allocated to safety culture advancement (compared to 61 in 2021/22). The response rate was 91%. 97% of respondents indicated Yes to allocating resources to safety culture; however, upon review and based upon details provided by companies, safety culture advancement efforts could only be verified in 76% of responsesFootnote 1.

Figure 1. Safety Culture Advancement Effort by Type

Figure 1. Safety Culture Advancement Effort by Type

In 2022/2023, as shown in Figure 1, the most frequent type of advancement effort was Internal Safety Culture Program Development (80%) followed by Safety Culture Training (64%), Safety Culture Assessment (59%), Safety Culture Expert Consultation (48%) and Other (11%).

Figure 2. The extent the CER contributed to companies' safety culture advancement efforts

Figure 2. The extent the CER contributed to companies' safety culture advancement efforts

Companies were asked to rate the extent to which the CER contributed to their organization's advancement of safety culture. As shown in Figure 2, participants responded as follows: 25% responded Not at all, 37% responded Slightly, 23% responded Moderately, 12% responded Very and 0% responded Extremely. The CER’s annual safety culture workshops, the Statement on Safety Culture, and sharing of learning materials via the Safety Culture Learning Portal were identified as positively impacting company – advancement efforts

Figure 3. Recommended – CER actions to support companies on safety culture advancement

Figure 3. Recommended CER actions to support companies on safety culture advancement

In responding to what the CER could do to further support companies’ safety culture efforts, as shown in Figure 3, over half of respondents (65%) noted that guidance material on industry best practices and lessons learned related to the following topics would be useful:

  • Safety culture development and assessments;
  • Human and organizational factors and performance;
  • Incident and near-misses investigation;
  • Process safety; and
  • Contractor management.

Of note, a new section containing educational material and practical tools related to human and organizational factors can now be found in the CER Safety Culture Learning Portal.

In addition, approximately one third of respondents (32%) indicated that safety culture forums and workshops would be valuable, which is aligned with CER’s recent effort to expand workshop participation to include members from both Group 1 and Group 2 CER-regulated companies. These events provide excellent opportunities for industry members to openly discuss safety culture advancement efforts, challenges, and best practices.

Next Steps

The results of this year’s survey will inform the implementation of the CER’s three-year safety culture strategy (2023–26), including a work plan, prioritization, and timelines. Once the three-year safety culture strategy is finalized, it will be published on the CER’s Safety Culture webpage located on the CER website.

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