Primoris Willbros Canada: A Century of Safety Innovation in the Heart of Harsh Climates

Defining Safety Standards for the Oil and Gas Industry through Empowered Workforces and Pioneering Strategies

Key Takeaways:

  • Primoris Willbros Canada, with a legacy dating back to 1923, is a recognized leader in the hydro-transport pipeline construction and maintenance, storage tanks construction and repair, facility construction, piping fabrication, and pipeline integrity services.
  • Based in Edmonton, AB, with a branch in Ft. McMurray, AB, the company prides itself on its exceptional safety performance, owing it to innovative programs and highly engaged employees and leaders.
  • Primoris Willbros Canada navigates a myriad of challenges from severe weather conditions to evolving work scopes, maintaining its safety focus throughout.
  • The company encourages its employees to “own their safety” through empowerment and trust, building a continually evolving safety culture.
  • Primoris Willbros Canada has introduced significant safety innovations like “Why I Work Safe” walls, the Safety Talisman Coin, and the “Got Your Six” program.

Primoris Willbros Canada: A Legacy of Safety in Complex Conditions

In the heart of Canada, amidst the stark landscapes of Alberta and the harsh climates of the north, a company named Primoris Willbros Canada has been making waves in the field of construction, oil, and gas for nearly a century. Dating back to its first project in 1923, the company has come a long way, positioning itself as an industry leader in a range of sectors including hydro-transport pipeline construction and maintenance, construction and repair of storage tanks, facility construction, piping fabrication, and pipeline integrity services.

From its bases in Edmonton and Ft. McMurray, AB, Primoris Willbros Canada serves major firms across the oil, gas, power, petrochemical, and heavy oil industries. The company is recognized not only for its workmanship and professionalism but also for its exceptional safety performance. This safety-focused culture is the fruit of innovative programs and the dedication of over 500 engaged employees and leaders.

Navigating Safety Amidst the Changing Tides

Amongst the various challenges faced by Primoris Willbros Canada, the harsh weather conditions of northern Alberta stand out prominently. With temperatures dipping to as low as -22 to -40°F in the winters, coupled with punishing construction and operations schedules, the company’s employees often find themselves working against the odds.

Besides the weather, the company also contends with the evolving scope of its work. Initially, Primoris Willbros Canada engaged in large, cross-country pipeline projects. However, this focus has gradually shifted to smaller scale pipeline construction and maintenance, tank construction, and facility work, including electrical scopes.

With changing scopes come the need to adapt safety procedures, which further challenge the organization, particularly when its safety system needs to work across different provinces, each with its unique legislation. Overcoming such hurdles, Primoris Willbros Canada has managed to establish a pliable, flexible, and strategic safety management system, thereby ensuring a safe work environment for all.

Empowering Employees: The Key to Safety Innovation

In 2011, a few significant safety-related incidents forced Primoris Willbros Canada to introspect and identify gaps in its safety process. The company quickly realized that safety was not just about procedures but also about engaging and empowering its employees. To this end, the company has since fostered an environment where employees are encouraged to own their safety, cultivating a safety culture that thrives on trust and empowerment.

Innovations to Boost Safety Culture

To improve engagement efforts, Primoris Willbros Canada introduced some novel initiatives, including “Why I Work Safe” walls. As part of their orientation, each new worker brings photos of what means the most to them, which are put up on the walls of the lunchroom as a daily reminder to work safely.

Another significant initiative was the introduction of the Safety Talisman Coin, a visual and tangible reminder for employees to keep safety at the forefront. Handed out by supervisors, these coins have become a symbol of safety, often shared with loved ones as a token of care.

Building on the theme of mutual trust, Primoris Willbros Canada launched the “Got Your Six” program, a slogan encapsulating the notion of looking out for one another. While the program initially struggled to gain traction, it eventually found success among employees, underscoring the importance of peer support in safety culture.

Looking Towards a Safer Future

Primoris Willbros Canada has always strived to keep safety a priority, a fact evidenced by daily safety meetings and toolbox talks. The company has even introduced monthly HSE scorecards to keep track of leading and lagging indicators, compliance to the HSE management system, training compliance, cultural initiatives, and environmental initiatives.

As the company steps into the future, it continues to be a beacon of safety innovation. By placing trust in its workforce and implementing pioneering safety strategies, Primoris Willbros Canada is not only defining safety standards for the oil and gas industry but also empowering its employees to take control of their safety, thereby contributing to a safer, more secure world.

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