Rodrigo Nieto
General Manager
Falck Safety Mexico
View from the Top

Adopting International Standards has Positive Spillover

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 09:33

Q: How does Falck convince potential clients that safety practices are an investment rather than a cost?

A: Looking at Falck as a whole, we are better prepared than anyone. We are the only safety company that offers integral courses in securing all day-to-day operations. Falck provides facility insurance, checks crane hooks every six months, food quality and water ph, to name a few of our services. Everything is verified through robust procedures that guarantee safety first. One of the easy sales this year has been to international companies that launched operations in Mexico as a result of the Energy Reform, which demands companies work to international standards. We are the only company providing the latter; our international experience — we are present in 46 countries — means we come to the table with a global footprint. For instance, we closed a business relationship with ENI. It uses the OPITO standard worldwide and when it came to Mexico, ENI asked about an OPITO-certified training center. We were happy to oblige. That resulted in everyone else having to come to us and take the basic offshore safety induction and emergency training.

We make sure our clients understand that working to international standards has a guaranteed spillover effect that results in better-qualified employees. It works similarly to insurance: you buy a good education and get better employees, who are also more motivated and less likely to be accident-prone.

Q: What would be the major concerns that international companies have regarding Mexico’s landscape? A: In our experience, companies want to work and manage their business seamlessly; they want to make business flow without having to deal with complex regulations or long permit processes and the like. In short, a lightweight red tape. Many companies will have to further strengthen their operational processes to be able to work here fluidly. 

Mexico’s drilling business is densely regulated to begin with and reinventing the rules like we are doing now is going to take a lot of manpower. These are new and exciting times when it comes to setting a new standard for Mexico.

Q: What particular market niches does Falck target when assessing its courses? A: Falck is not solely dedicated to professional training but also offers safety services. Assessing personnel and safety procedures is also part of our core business. In addition, we are developing a project with a major pipe fabrication company that has purchased its own land-drilling rig just to train its personnel. They called us to develop the safety courses applicable to this type of rig. 

Our most complex and sophisticated training program is Major Emergency Management. This course is on a complexity level of its own. We provide a training room that simulates every aspect of a standard drilling-rig control room, with double-glazed windows and a team of instructors on the other side, where we take you to hell and back, simulating all the emergencies that can be anticipated on an oil rig: fire, men overboard, well blowout and vessel collision, to name a few. We film the whole exercise and give a coaching session afterward in how to best follow safety protocols, while also teaching efficient problem-solving approaches for every emergency. The course can be adapted to every professional on the oil rig team. The course is as scalable as it is adaptable. We can apply it to refineries, nuclear plants and other types of hazardous facilities.

Falck can diversify its services and solutions and adapt its training services for land operations as well. In fact, we are working with a nitrogen plant that is undergoing its first complete shutdown in over 10 years. We can also develop tailor-made courses for subcontractors, too. When companies contact us, they want to be able to address two issues: one is educating their employees and the other is liability. We continuously cater to our clients’ safety needs. In the near future, that will include emergency response plans, among other new developments.