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Our Stop Work Program Emphasizes Safety

Company Accelerates Efforts to Reduce Potential Risks

The message at Hess is clear: everyone – from employees to contractors and visitors – should feel free to shut down any operation that poses potential safety risks. In fact, the company encourages them to stop work even if they only suspect there is a problem.

Stopping an operation is better than risking a single injury, company leadership maintains. It's a message continually reinforced by Hess leaders around the world and the cornerstone of the Hess Stop Work program. 

The program empowers everyone associated with the company to keep their eyes peeled for unsafe behavior or faulty equipment, and encourages them to 'pull the plug' so nobody gets hurt. It’s a simple message that redefines the concept of whistle blowing from a negative to a positive, and emphasizes that looking the other way is not "the Hess Way."

There are no reprisals or fallout for stopping work, even on oil rigs, where shutting the operation down for a day to investigate the root cause of a possible safety hazard can cost a $1 million.

Top leaders are working to make stopping work second nature at Hess, where safety has long been our priority.  Hess was one of several energy companies to introduce a “Stop Work Authority” (SWA) policy in 2006. Safety experts call it one of the most significant safety programs in the oil and gas industry. 

Mandating an SWA is one thing. Creating a true company-wide SWA state of mind is another. Some companies think they have it if they place posters in the workplace. But unless it is part of the corporate culture, Hess executives believe people are only paying lip service to the concept. 

There is a concerted effort to spread the message and evidence that acceptance is growing, especially through instances where employees have “called out” their bosses for unsafe behavior. 

That’s what happened to an Environment, Health & Safety senior safety manager during his first visit to our Indonesian operations. An employee advised him that the laced-up safety boots he was wearing no longer met the safety standards at the offshore platform – and offered him a pair that did.

The bottom line: A safer workplace is a more efficient workplace, a fact that has been proven time after time.