Safety at Our Core

Loss Prevention chief: Safety excellence is the beating heart of Aramco.

Ghassan Abulfaraj interview with Oil & Gas Management puts safety efforts at the fore.

Loss Prevention chief: Safety excellence is the beating heart of Aramco.

Safety is at the heart of everything Aramco does, from the very top to every last employee and contractor working for us.


This was they key message the company’s vice president and chief loss prevention engineer Ghassan Abulfaraj had in a recent interview with Oil & Gas Management regarding Aramco’s strategic approach to risk management.


Operating in an industry where effective risk management is critical to doing business, Aramco proactively assesses and manages all risks, whether they are strategic, operational, compliance, or financial, using a “systematic and detailed methodology.”


“The pursuit of safety excellence is at the heart of everything that we do,” said Abulfaraj. “Safety is a core value that helps protect our people, assets, and the environment. As such, a visible commitment by management to controlling operational risk is a cornerstone of successfully implementing the company’s safety policy. This responsibility is cascaded from our executive leadership team to frontline leaders.”


With that level of buy-in from leadership, Loss Prevention then plays a central role in managing safety performance, from administering safety policies and assessing compliance, to overseeing proper implementation of Aramco’s Safety Management System.


“We continuously assess emerging risks, develop mitigating plans, and integrating their solutions internally,” he said.


Positioned to succeed

Abulfaraj noted in the interview that integrating safety into all aspects of business has been the key to Aramco’s excellence in safety.


This comes in a number of ways, including:


  • Simplifying and digitalizing our processes
  • Developing human capital
  • Enhancing organizational capabilities and asset integrity
  • Investing in future generations.


Moving forward, Abufaraj said, Aramco plans to continue these efforts by:

  • Strengthening our contractors’ safety performance through maintaining a strong field presence, and further strengthening contractors’ accountability practices
  • Investing in human capital while remaining focused on growing capabilities across all levels of the organization
  • Helping the company grow its organizational capabilities to effectively address emerging risks and the changing operational landscape
  • Deploying safety technologies and automation in operational facilities, projects, and assets, with a goal to reduce workforce exposure and enhance safety in the workplace. (Projects such as Digital Plants, which are expected to be implemented in 20 of the company’s largest operational sites, automate 10 key operational safety processes to reduce human error, while the Smart Site Safety Solution improves compliance at project sites through integrated smart wearables and AI-powered cameras.)


Areas for future growth and development

Loss Prevention has identified areas for future growth and development based on the company’s strategic pillars of service, performance, and capabilities, said Abufaraj.


These strategies include plans to:

  • Develop, govern and maintain safety policies and standards
  • Provide fit-for-purpose safety consultation services
  • Integrate safety into the spectrum of Aramco’s businesses
  • Assess safety performance
  • Drive corporate safety performance
  • Develop and retain a competent LP workforce
  • Elevate safety awareness in our community
  • Create an innovative environment.


To do this, LP is focusing on solidifying safety oversight of all Aramco businesses, using a predictive safety approach in conjunction with artificial intelligence and machine-learning technologies, enhancing leadership safety capabilities, using technology to enrich corporate safety training programs, expanding contractor partnerships (through our Contractor Safety Improvement Program), enhancing our safety recognition programs to strengthen the link between safety performance and business success, and supporting national safety capabilities through programs provided by academies and training centers.


How do Aramco initiatives protect its employees?

In the interview, Abulfaraj noted that as the company expands to meet growing demand globally, this requires a steadfast commitment to safety procedures.


To do this, Aramco has implemented initiatives to protect personnel and assets, including using technology that proactively identifies hazards. These initiatives also have enabled contractors to build safety capabilities, and Aramco has partnered with prestigious institutions to build academic programs and conduct research.


We are continuously looking to strengthen our collaboration with all stakeholders (employees, contractors, service providers, government agencies), and we continue to prioritize the training of our workforce to perform their jobs safely.
Ghassan Abulfaraj


Abulfaraj provided an example is LP’s partnership with another firm to customize fire-resistant clothing that targets our female workforce.


“We developed a number of design concepts to improve style and comfort from a safety perspective, while ensuring that cultural requirements were met,” he said in the interview. “Designs included a double-layered, flame-resistant shirt with an integrated inner layer that protects female employees from potential burn injuries. 


How does technology help facilitate and simplify safety processes?

Throughout the interview, Abulfaraj pointed to the role technology is improving Loss Prevention’s safety processes as “we continue to advance our digital capabilities through programs centered on digital process safety and operations management.


He noted SafeLife, a digital platform used by plants and facilities to manage numerous elements of Aramco’s Safety Management System.


“Our organization also currently employs a number of technologies that help identify common hazards in our field operations,” he added. “We are looking into the use of video analytics, machine learning, and big data analytics in the field of safety aiming to reduce risks, exposure and human error. Today, we apply the Smart Site Safety Solution (4S), which combines innovation and technology to detect and prevent construction site incidents, and we provide ongoing support of new Immersive Virtual Reality safety training curriculums that enable multiple users to train together simultaneously, regardless of geographical location.”


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