Preventing incidents before they occur is always the goal of our HSER program. Incident prevention starts by identifying potential safety or environmental risks and then developing proactive solutions to offset hazards and keep our sites safe. 

HSER Risk Identification

We identify and recognize risks in a number of ways, most notably through our Good Catch initiative, on-site inspections and audits, and data trend analysis.  

  • Audits: Our HSER Compliance Assurance team conducts audits across our operations to identify potential hazards. We use a hybrid audit system, combining desktop and at least two field audits (rotating across business units) each year.
  • Near Miss Analysis: By tracking near miss incidents and analyzing near miss data, we recognize trends and apply key learnings across our operations. 

Defining Near Miss Incidents

We define a near miss incident as an unplanned event that did not result in an injury, illness or damage, but had the potential to do so. 

As part of our metrics reporting, we calculate a near miss frequency rate (NMFR) according to the formula provided by the SASB Oil & Gas Standard. In 2020, our NMFR was 1.6.

Near misses are most often reported through our Good Catch initiative, which we then record within our incident management database. In addition to noting the incidents that could have occurred, we include the corrective actions taken to prevent similar incidents in the future. 

Learning from Incidents

Should an incident occur, it’s our commitment to learn from it and, where appropriate, improve our processes. To deliver on this commitment, we utilize a root cause investigation system to standardize our reporting, investigation and analysis of incidents. This system enables us to determine the root causes of incidents and discern where and what improvements are necessary.

In 2021 we recognized that when a standard was updated, there were inconsistencies in how these changes were communicated and implemented. Our HSER team performed a gap analysis of our standard communications process and identified gaps where improvements could be made. For each identified gap, we recommended corrective action, assigned an employee owner and required a deadline for implementation. 

Damage from excavation-related activities is the leading cause of pipeline incidents. To prevent these incidents, we encourage the public to call 811 to have pipelines and other utilities marked before digging. If your property includes an easement and you plan to build, please notify Chesapeake at least 30 days prior to construction.

Incident Response in Brazos Valley

In early 2020, Chesapeake experienced a well-control incident in Burleson County, Texas, in our Brazos Valley operations. The moment we were aware of the incident, we evacuated the well but, tragically, three contractors died and another was hospitalized.

We activated our emergency response command systems, setting up command posts in Oklahoma City and on-site. Our automated documentation and communication system let the corporate command center know exactly what was going on throughout the well-control process.

Once the site was secure, we addressed the well control-incident and resulting damage. Our Operations team established an incident action plan that included a framework of objectives to reduce our negative environmental impact. We worked to contain any releases, partnering with well-control experts to secure and contain the site. We have since plugged and abandoned the well.

Following well containment, we initiated an investigation into the incident. We continue to inform our Operations group of any important fact findings and have reviewed and retrained employees on pertinent policies and procedures. Once the investigation is complete, we’ll share our findings across our operations.  

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