The Butterfly Effect: Getting To Zero

As a core value, safety permeates our working culture and our daily activities in every location. We call it OWN ZERO®, as a reminder of our shared responsibility in achieving zero safety incidents. But what happens when a project includes multiple contractors, multiple nationalities and cultures, and multiple backgrounds?

On a remote project of strategic importance, we were recently challenged by a mindset among some local workforce of finishing the job as quickly as possible, and not mentioning anything that might slow the project. This mindset became the biggest hurdle faced by our team, and unfortunately incidents occurred ranging from simple missteps to recordables.

Building A New Culture

How did we persuade others to commit to safety and embrace the goal of every worker returning safely home each day?

Big Picture

We started by creating a team/family atmosphere that helped individuals understand their value as part of a historical and strategically important project. Our management team also became actively involved with knowing each person on the project, as well as understanding the local culture.


We made the project transparent across the whole team, from the flow of information for daily tasks, to short- and long-range goals. Each and every one knows their role in completing the project safely and on time, with quality work.


While we consider every project member to be a safety manager, we created a Safety Champion program for those who go above and beyond. To recognize and celebrate their advocacy, we cook either dinner or breakfast for all the monthly Safety Champions ― there have been 27 since January 2021.


Although culture change takes time, we’re excited by the positive shift toward owning safer outcomes.

The local workforce has started watching out for each other on the job, as well as in their personal lives outside of the project. They communicate more among themselves: reminding each other about wearing personal protective equipment and using ladders properly, stopping each other when in doubt, and asking questions about the daily task works. Each person clearly understands their authority to stop work at any given moment to ensure their own safety, and that of their coworkers.

Incidents and stop-work moments have decreased dramatically on this project, while near-miss reporting has increased. We’re proud that this project has resulted in more than high-quality work. After protecting themselves and each other, these workers create a butterfly effect among their loved ones and in their community.

Whether you work in the field, in an office, or from home, we challenge you to OWN ZERO®! Your commitment to safety benefits everyone around you.

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