Our HSE Approach and Management
Why This Matters
Our HSE Vision, which we refreshed in 2020-2021 after consultation across the company, is an extension of our core values of Excellence, Trust, Respect and Responsibility, and reflects our commitment to conducting our activities in a manner that ensures the health and safety of our people and those involved directly or indirectly in our operations.
This is Vermilion’s highest priority. Nothing is more important than the safety of staff, partners, suppliers, communities and all those who work with us.
Protecting the environment immediately follows safety in our priorities. While this presents as a critical operational risk from an adverse environmental incident, it also offers important opportunities to improve technology and processes to both protect the environment and contribute to operational excellence and return to shareholders.413-2
We operate by the mantra of “HSE: Everyone. Everywhere. Everyday.” because we believe that striving for a healthy workplace free of incidents is key to efficient and successful operations that will continue to generate strong returns to our employees, shareholders and the communities that we operate in. When it comes to HSE, protecting our people and the places they work, play and call home is what really matters most.
Our HSE Policy is also our promise. It applies to all Vermilion activities, and provides an overall commitment to key principles for managing health, safety and the environment. The policy, which is the basis for Vermilion’s HSE objectives and targets, outlines the overall direction of our organization with respect to HSE and contains a commitment to continuous improvement.
Vermilion is committed to ensuring we conduct our activities in a manner that protects the health and safety of our employees, our contractors and the public. Our HSE Vision is to consistently apply our Core Values of Excellence, Trust, Respect and Responsibility. This results in a workplace free of incidents and ensures that our proactive culture and behaviours create a high-reliability organization where HSE is fully integrated into our business – it is our way of life.
Vermilion will maintain health, safety and environmental practices and procedures that comply with or exceed regulatory requirements and industry standards.
Our HSE Vision
The consistent application of our core values results in a workplace free of incidents. Our proactive culture and behaviours create a high-reliability organization where HSE is fully integrated into our business.
It is our way of life.
Our commitments to achieving strong HSE performance include:
Hazard awareness, risk reduction and environmental stewardship comprise an integral part of any job. This is a joint effort that requires continuous support from everyone who works at Vermilion. The protection of health, safety and the environment must be a key part of the planning and execution of every task. All those engaged in work for Vermilion shall be aware of this policy and conduct their duties and behaviours in alignment with these principles.
HSE: Everyone. Everywhere. Everyday.
Our HSE Policy is clear that HSE is the responsibility of every person who works for, with or on behalf of Vermilion, from our permanent employees to our contractors and vendors.
Structural responsibility for HSE rests with our Board of Directors, which maintains oversight of HSE performance through its HSE Committee, which has regular and direct communications with our Executive Committee and senior management teams. Management responsibility for HSE rests with all of our Executives and operationally with our Vice President, International & HSE, who leads strategy and performance. In addition, the leaders of each of our business units are responsible for HSE performance within their operations, supported by specialist HSE staff.
HSE commitment and leadership is engrained in Vermilion’s leaders, through visible and active participation. They set the tone, provide the vision and resources required to achieve our HSE objectives, and actively participate to ensure the importance of HSE is well understood and a high standard of compliance is maintained. This is supported by our performance management system, which includes an HSE leadership objective for all leaders, connecting leader compensation directly to HSE and ensuring that HSE is viewed as a priority for every leader and every team in the organization.
We also strive to engrain safety and environmental awareness throughout all facets of the organization, not just in our field operations. We believe our HSE mantra emphasizes that keeping people and the environment safe isn’t just up to the HSE or operations departments, but involves every individual, whether they work as a technician in the field, an accountant in the office, or as a volunteer in the community during a Day of Caring.
To support this, we hold a variety of meetings with participants that include our senior management team and HSE advisors from all divisions and subsidiaries, representing 100% of our staff; these include weekly management and operations meetings, quarterly meetings with the Board's HSE Committee that includes our senior leadership, and a monthly HSE Managers' meeting that focuses on sharing lessons learned from each of our operations.
We require third-party contractors and sub-contractors – our vendors – to be HSE pre-qualified prior to commencing service work. This helps ensure that they have an HSE program in place that meets or exceeds our requirements. We also observe and interact with our vendors on an ongoing basis to ensure that they are adhering to Vermilion’s HSE practices, procedures and rules. This is supported by our Contractor Selection and Management Standard.
We hold mandatory monthly HSE meetings in every field district that all staff (field and administration) attend and senior management routinely participate in. On a quarterly basis, the HSE district meetings are replaced by HSE-focused town hall meetings that include our vendors. This practice results in a better understanding of Vermilion’s HSE requirements, and an improved understanding of where and how we can provide better support to our vendors.
Our site and work procedures also provide strong oversight of staff and contractor activities alike. For example, safety and environmental certifications, such as H2S and enclosed space training, must be current and in place; we track and monitor these for staff, and require proof of certification for vendor staff. Hazard identification is a key part of every job and as a result, Vermilion work permits are required in order to enter our locations, and registration is required on our roads and sites, to ensure that we know who is on site to do what work, and when. Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is provided by Vermilion or the contracting company as appropriate, and is a requirement to access our sites. Working conditions are also clearly identified and monitored, including maximum working hours per day (which include driving time to and from our locations).
In addition, staff and contractors must complete online training prior to arriving on site, to ensure that they are familiar with our most important HSE procedures. In Australia, those traveling to our offshore platform must undergo further training, to support critical platform and helicopter safety procedures.
With regard to our supply chain, our Contractor Selection and Management Standard and associated guidelines and tools includes specific activities to support HSE performance: for example, having the Vermilion staff member responsible for the vendor provide information and briefings on our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and our HSE program requirements, including our High 5 personal safety initiative and site-specific hazard awareness.
We believe there are clear linkages between strong HSE performance and strong business performance. We focus on five key pillars of HSE performance to enhance our ability to advance our HSE priorities and reduce our risk, which helps us ensure worker and public safety, environmental protection and the delivery of superior business results — now in the longer term.
HSE Focus Area
2023 Vision and Outcomes
The consistent and continual application of our core values results in an ownership culture at all levels of the organization. Culture drives our behaviour, resulting in a high reliability organization where HSE is fully integrated into our business; it is a way of life
We have a culture and attitude of ownership where all employees and contractors have a high level of personal responsibility
The importance of HSE is communicated and demonstrated clearly and consistently from senior leadership at every opportunity
Visible commitment from leaders at all levels of the organization – everyone is a leader
Communications & Knowledge Management
Continuously learns and shares information to improve performance
Values training and validates competencies
Demonstrates reliable data systems, analysis, trending and generation of improvement actions
Our HSE framework is fit for purpose across the business and integrated into everyday business process and activities with a defined relationship to our Management Systems
Has a robust HSE framework that has a broad array of systems, standards, practices and procedures to identify hazards and manage/reduce risk
Demonstrate regulatory compliance
Provides important organizational focus to low probability, high consequence events
The H in HSE is defined and includes physical, mental and occupational health components
Our organization identifies and provides mitigations for employee health risks
Environmental and Operational Stewardship
Robust auditing process that drives change in the application and integration of the Management System objectives and expectations
Integrates sustainability policy and practices into business strategies and performance measures
Considers that HSE and sustainable development has a direct correlation to business success
Our HSE Framework
Our HSE Framework starts with our core values and extends through to a robust set of Standards, Practices and Procedures. Our HSE Management System (HSE MS), Asset Integrity Management System (AIMS) and Process Safety Management System (PSMS) provide the formal structure that helps us foster a workplace culture at Vermilion where HSE is always a priority.
The HSE MS manages personal or behavioural safety, while process or technical safety is managed through AIMS and PSMS.
These systems reflect industry best practice and ISO principles to ensure that health, safety and environmental issues are systematically identified, controlled, and monitored.
In addition, our German business unit is certified to ISO 50001 for energy management, and our Ireland business unit is certified to ISO 14001 for environmental management.
Our HSE MS provides the structure for the delivery of our HSE policy and commitments, including areas of corporate ownership and responsibility, with the objective to increase consistency across the organization in its development and implementation. By following the HSE MS’s action steps of Plan, Do, Check & Correct – which provide a process for continual improvement – we identify and manage health, safety and environment hazards and risks associated with our company’s global operations.
Elements within the system include:
AIMS serves as the framework of processes and procedures that helps us execute safe and reliable asset operation, and includes elements such as our Tank Integrity Management System, Pipeline Integrity Management System, and Pressure Equipment Integrity Management System. Through AIMS, we understand when work on an asset needs to be performed, how much it will cost, and where to start. Perhaps even more importantly, it helps us understand the impact and cost if no action is taken. Adherence to quality standards and practices, effective testing and inspection of equipment, quality of spare parts and repairs, and correct control of operating parameters are all within the scope of AIMS. A successful AIMS helps us improve operational safety, reduce spill volumes and frequency, increase overall reliability and life expectancy of assets through cost effective measures, assure proper management of high risk assets, implement best practices in managing our assets, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
Like our HSE MS, it is a tiered, integrated documented system.
PSMS serves as the “backbone” of how we manage process safety. This is a blend of engineering and management skills focused on preventing high impact, low probability events and near misses, such as fires, explosions, well blowouts and damaging releases associated with the loss of containment of energy or dangerous substances. It applies to our entire activity spectrum, including Production, Facilities and Storage, Construction, Acquisition and Divestment, Abandonment/Reclamation/Remediation, Exploration, Drilling, Completions, Workovers and Transportation.
Our PSMS is comprised of 14 interactive elements that identify key responsibilities and requirements, and is based on a Plan-Do-Check-Correct cycle. This helps us identify hazards, manage risk, eliminate or mitigate potential environmental impacts, operate safely and reliably, develop and share best practices, drive operational discipline, and support continuous improvement. In addition to our overlapping HSE MS Elements, PSMS also includes Process Hazards Analysis, enhances Management of Change, Mechanical Integrity (integrates AIMS), Process Safety Information, and Pre-Start Up and Review. Each of these Elements has specific Standards, Practices, Procedures and Guidelines to ensure the Element objectives and expectations are being met.