I n the oil and gas industry, the focus on safety is critical. Prior to meetings, the start of new projects, and before each team begins their day, safety moments are presented to set the tone. But when and where did this begin?

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, most safety efforts were related to protecting property, not human lives. Sometime around 1736, Benjamin Franklin founded the first fire department in Philadelphia. During this time the first insurance company, “The Contribution” was established and Franklin was on the board of directors. Interestingly, a competitor, Green Tree Company, came along and offered homeowners discounts based on risk. For example, lower premiums were offered if homeowners removed trees that were too close to their homes to allow fire departments better access.

Once the Industrial Revolution occurred,

a focus on safety began to take place.

In 1911, the event that truly changed history was in New York City at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory where at least 145 lives were taken in a fire. This brought nationwide attention as the incident was largely preventable. Blocked exits, locked doors, and neglected safety features within the factory all caused employees to become trapped. Thereafter, proactive safety measures began to take place.

This included the establishment of OSHA and the Consumer Product Safety Act. The evolution of safety has completely changed, encouraging individuals and companies to be aware of their surroundings. At WHC Energy Services, and pipeline companies throughout the U.S., teams are encouraged to perform effective and safe projects. Today, WHC has an outstanding safety record because of our consistent focus on safety.