Hitting home with safety
Thousands of workers from more than 20 countries helped to create Shell’s largest integrated refinery and petrochemical complex. Many had never worked on a large industrial site before but all helped to cultivate a strong safety culture.
Project managers trained the workers to follow stringent safety rules to avoid accidents. “When you have more than 15,000 people working for you on a project, that is over 150,000 fingers potentially at risk,” said Sipke Mennes, senior Health Safety and Environment advisor. “We had to take care of all of them.”
Communicating across cultures
Instilling safety procedures was all the more challenging because the workers spoke at least seven different languages. To overcome language barriers, project leaders used novel ways to get the message across, such as hand-drawn images to show potential safety incidents at daily team meetings.
“We gave out safety leaflets ourselves,” said Sipke. “Here the workers knew the managers.”
He believes promoting safety is about relating to the workers. A theatre production used music and mime to tell the story of a migrant worker staying safe to return to his family. “Weeks afterwards people were still talking about it,” said Sipke. “They replayed parts, showing the message had hit home.”
All over the construction site posters of Singa the lion, a mascot developed to suit different cultures, reminded staff of safety rules.
SEPC – Richard Henfield, former Project Director ethylene cracker complex project
Title: SEPC - Richard Henfield, Project Director ethylene cracker complex project - from YouTube
Duration: 2:56 minutes
Richard Henfield, Project Director of the ethylene cracker complex project speaks about the logistics and people and challenges involved in the construction of the ethylene cracker complex and all of the factors that have contributed to its successful running today.
SEPC - Richard Henfield, Project Director ethylene cracker complex project - from YouTube Transcript
Black screen filled with white, illegible text.
[Background music plays]
Fast-paced, rhythmic instrumental music plays.
Dissolve to side angle point of view shot of Shell oil tanker speeding towards the camera and then past, the word Shell in large print on the side of the tanker. Buildings line the street, forming the background. In the distance, towards frame-right, Shell street signage is visible.
Close-up of two workmen in safety gear i.e. clothing, helmets and goggles, involved in a discussion.
Pull back to four quadrants with white borders, all displaying images of workmen and women onsite.
Pull back to 16 similar images and continues this action several times over, until there is a blurred collage of images over which text zooms from the bottom right corner to fill the lower half of the screen.
Zoom in on text as the collage of images zooms in and out.
Interview with Richard Henfield
Project Director, Ethylene Cracker Complex
Ethylene Cracker Complex
Dissolve to mid-shot of Richard in safety clothing, as described, with shirt reflecting the Shell logo. He is standing towards frame-left, gesturing as he speaks, and the gleaming steel pipes and tanks of the ethylene cracker form the background.
Hi my name is Richard Henfield. I’m the Project Director for the ECC or the Ethylene Cracker Complex.
Richard turns to his right, gesturing towards the cracker.
Dissolve to low angle view of the quench tower and pre-fractionator with the furnaces behind. A single tall street lamp fills frame-left in the foreground, and blue skies and white clouds are visible beyond. The shot pans down to a wide shot of the cracker complex.
That’s of course what I’m standing in front of. I’m standing in front of my baby. Behind me you can see the part of the heart of the cracker. That’s the quench tower and the pre-fractionator. Behind that are the furnaces and over to my right even further is the gas compressor, which is the true heart of any cracker.
Dissolve to extreme close-up of Richard, tanks and pipes filling the background behind. He gestures with his hands as he speaks.
Dissolve to wide, panning aerial shot of the cracker complex, extending over the island with blue waters visible between and around. The camera pans the island.
Dissolve to a second panning aerial shot, slightly closer and from a slightly different angle.
Dissolve to a third panning aerial shot, again closer and from a different angle. Light reflects off the sea at the top of frame.
This project has been my life for the last two years. We’ve had twelve thousand people here per day, at the height of the project, which of course is a huge challenge, not to mention this project is on an island. So the logistics have been a tremendous challenge. And twelve thousand people… that means we had fifty thousand people have come through this project – all them had to be trained in terms of safety. Our safety culture, our working culture, our quality culture. It’s been a huge challenge.
Dissolve to panning front view of the ethylene cracker, steel structures and tanks and pipes forming the background.
The camera pans from right to left, coming to rest on the view of the towers, clouds and blue skies visible above and a tarred street visible in the foreground.
Dissolve to oblique high angle shot of the steel tanks of the cracker that zooms in on lower rims of the tanks.
Dissolve to panning side view of the rims of the tanks, showing the steel and cable in close-up, with a wide view of the rest of the cracker in the distance, under blue skies and white fluffy clouds.
Low angle wide view of the cracker, blue sky and clouds visible above.
But I’m proud to stand here today behind it while the unit is running. This complex the ECC or Ethylene Cracker Complex of course is tremendous and huge on any scale. There is over two Eiffel Towers worth of steel in this complex. And there’s enough cable to stretch ten times around the island of Singapore. And this is a tremendously important project for this region for producing products of ethylene and propylene.
Dissolve to mid-shot of Richard, the cracker filling the frame behind him. He gestures as he speaks.
But of course ethylene and propylene are base chemicals from which everything around us in our everyday life is made. The clothes I’m wearing, the hardhat I’m wearing, my glasses, my shoes, many parts of a car. And of course, our… not our bi-product but a product downstream, MEG, mono ethylene glycol, which is basically used for fabric, and fibres and for anti-freeze in cars. Tremendous markets all over the world and especially in this region.
Dissolve to wide view of the ocean beyond the complex. Towards the horizon, another plant is visible. A vessel crosses the ocean from frame-right to left. Another boat crosses in the opposite direction. Grey seas and skies form the background as the shot pulls back to reveal a wider view.
Dissolve to panning bird’s eye view of the complex, a cloudy sky visible above the panning skyline.
Pull back on bird’s eye view of one of the towers and the surrounding complex, a small island with trees visible just beyond the complex and another island visible on the horizon where grey seas meet pale blue skies. Various vessels are dotted around the ocean. As the shot pulls back, steam billows out of a chimney frame-left
Dissolve to wide panning aerial view of the complex, grey seas and a large green island beyond. Blue, cloudy skies form the background above the horizon.
One thing that makes the Ethylene Cracker Complex, or the SEPC, which is Shell Eastern Petrochemical Complex, so important is the integration between a petrochemical facility like I’m standing in and the refinery which is right next door. These are now totally integrated in terms of feed stock and in terms of product. That is not available in any other Shell location. Of course the location of the Ethylene cracker complex is very important just because of the growth in Asia. And as everybody knows, Singapore is a hub for that growth. So we’re perfectly located in the biggest growth market in the world.
Dissolve to mid-shot of Richard, the cracker filling the frame behind him. He gestures as he speaks.
This project has had huge challenges over the last five years. So to get to this stage, and to… along the way, to have gone thirty-nine million man hours without a lost time incident gives me and my whole team the greatest amount of pride. And to stand in front of it today and have the unit running successfully.
Fade to black.
Rewarding safety success
Workers constructed the mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) processing plant on Jurong Island in 13.5 million working hours, without anyone having to take time off through injury. That is the same as one person working constantly for seven days a week for 1,500 years.
The record for the entire SEPC project was nearly 38 million man-hours with no lost time due to injury. To mark 15 million hours Shell made donations to two organisations that help foreign workers, to reflect the multicultural construction workforce. The total lost time due to injury averaged less than for working in an office.
Safety training programme
In 2008 Shell launched a programme to train more people in safety instead of relying on a small group of qualified safety professionals. The Training Safety Advisor Programme — specially tailored to the oil, gas and petrochemical industries — was the first of its kind in Singapore. More than 2,000 people applied for just 87 places.
Nearly 80% of participants passed the final exam and received international accreditation from the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health. Graduates returned to Singapore’s construction industry and helped strengthen its safety culture.
More in Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex
Engineers at Shell have developed a more efficient process for making the raw materials needed to manufacture many of today’s plastics and textiles.
You may also be interested in
Shell Chemicals focuses on producing basic or “building-block” chemicals, for sale in bulk to other chemicals companies or industries.
Our researchers, scientists and engineers research, develop and deploy technologies that help Shell to provide more and cleaner energy in a changing energy system.