Security, Safety, Health and Environment Lead
Name: Dennis Ricard
Company: ExxonMobil Canada
- Occupational Health and Safety Certificate,University of New Brunswick
- Bachelor of Applied Science (Hospitality),University of Southern New Hampshire
- Diploma in Culinary Management,Canadore College
Location: Offshore – Oil Production Installation
Hometown: Bracebridge, ON
Currently Living: Paradise, NL
“The people I work with put a huge emphasis on working safe. I’m inspired in seeing the folks out here work safely, remembering that everything they do has a ripple effect on their own lives, family lives, and friends.”
Education and Personal Background
Before working in safety, Dennis worked as a journeyperson chef and a banquet supervisor with a major urban hotel. When he found himself ready for a change, he chose this new career path partly because of the format of the program involved.
“The OH&S program at the University of New Brunswick was available by distance education, and was flexible to my full-time work schedule,” he says.
Dennis says the courses he completed enabled him to write the Canadian Registered Safety Professional exam. He has also completed other courses related to worker safety and accident and injury prevention.
Duties and Work Environment
Dennis’ work is all about worker health and safety offshore. It involves a combination of administrative tasks, site visits, and meetings with management.
“Administrative tasks could include anything from documentation reviews to writing entirely new procedures. When out in the field, I am a sounding board for any questions work groups may have. If I do not know the answer I will then work with my onshore support to find the answer as quickly as possible.”
In his role, Dennis must understand a lot of technical documentation and be able to interpret legislation surrounding safety practices.
“We solve minor issues from what type of personal protective equipment to use on a specific job, to reviewing procedures for safety, and conducting site inspections for hazards. The Offshore Installation Manager will look to the person in my position for guidance on reporting requirements and incident investigations.”
Dennis says the skills he uses most are active listing and communications skills.
“In order for me to help someone with a concern or issue, I need to fully understand what they are looking for,” he says. “Only then can I search for a solution that is practical and fits the needs of everyone involved.”
Questions and Answers
What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy that every day is different. There are many things that have to be accomplished each day, but there is always a twist. Not knowing what the twist will be keeps things exciting.
What surprised you most about the oil and gas industry?
The most surprising thing about the oil and gas industry to me is how much technology and processes are involved when recovering oil from the ground. The structure that we work on is a mega structure with many moving parts. The people that have to service the machines on board, like the mechanics, millwrights, and instrumentation techs – their knowledge of equipment is amazing. The cooks and the cleaners keep us fed and with clean environments to live in. The medical staff and radio operators are excellent; and the list goes on and on.