Safety, quality and environment driving improvements at ports

Authorship

Earl J Crochet, general manager Gulf Liquids, Kinder Morgan, Houston, Texas, US

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Implementing a new culture

Kinder Morgan terminals embarked on a voyage to establish a corporate culture built around safety, quality, and environmental compliance. This ongoing process began several years ago and, though great strides have been made, the simple fact is Kinder Morgan will never be completely satisfied until zero incidents can be claimed.

Improving safety at ports

Years ago, mariners used a sextant and the stars to help guide them safely from one port to another. Now they rely on guidance systems, radar, thermal imagery and other modern technologies. With these developments must come safety. Every company says they want to work safely and create a culture of safe practices. But how many actually take the necessary steps to ensure the workplace is as safe as possible?

It begins with providing training for each employee for each and every task, ensuring all employees wear and use the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times, and taking responsibility for the surrounding work environment.

At Kinder Morgan we spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on integrity management programs and maintenance to comply with and, in some instances, exceed federal safety laws and regulations. We also post statistics detailing our operational performance on our website to increase transparency. This detail shows that Kinder Morgan continues to outperform the industry averages in virtually all safety and release categories over a 12 month rolling average.

If an incident occurs, costly repairs may be needed, along with a cleanup and possible litigation and fines. When assets are not operating, ports cannot meet customers’ needs and revenues are not produced. All of these can take a toll on the company’s reputation and make it more difficult to conduct business in the future. Consequently, it behooves all of us in the industry to operate safely. The bottom line is that it costs much more to repair assets than it does to properly maintain them.

Become a responsible, ethical operator

Being in compliance with operating permits and protecting the environment is not only the right thing to do, it is good business. For a terminal operator, there are tremendous incentives to operate facilities responsibly. Therefore, first and foremost, there must be a commitment to protecting the public, employees, contractors and the environment.

Upholding a company’s reputation is paramount. Businesses are judged by how they act. Ethics and integrity can be interpreted many ways, but for Kinder Morgan we sum it up with the rule: treat others how you wish to be treated. This means acting with honesty and integrity in all dealings and doing what is believed to be right at all times within the legitimate role of business.

Another crucial area of ethical operation is the correct management of people. Treating your employees and customers the right way is the only way to do business. No one wants to do business with someone they don’t trust. This means keeping your word, operating safely and being open and honest in all aspects of your operations.

Providing the resources employees need to do the job correctly the first time leads to less rework, which ultimately leads to lower cost of service. This also means taking care of all the assets necessary to operate efficiently and safely.

 

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