Breathe before you go to work


For Midlander Glen Gann, a break could save lives.

“Slow down,” he said. Whether it’s driving on the road or working in the field, “take a minute and assess what you’re doing.”

The safety expert, who teaches a variety of safety courses for Midland College’s Risk Management Institute housed at the Center for Petroleum Professional Development, said taking a moment might not be popular with companies. But taking a moment to plan better and allowing more time to assess what they are going to do means the job can be done more thoroughly and more safely.

“I know the ‘time is money’ mentality is what we’re up against,” he said. “I’m not saying slow, but there’s nothing wrong with stopping, breathing and analyzing what you’re doing and the best way to do it. A lot of people are rolling the dice, but we have to train better, work better, drill better.

By not taking a moment to plan better, Gann said, people are setting themselves up for failure. “It’s up to companies to put people in place so that if they fail – we’re human, we’re going to fail. Why arrange that if you fail, it’s catastrophic? Prepare yourself so that if you fail, you fail safely.

Gann’s entry into the security culture began with his desire to be part of the region’s oil and gas industry.

“For 30 years, I worked in a paint store. I sold paint for a long time,” he says. “I wanted to be connected to oil and gas and the best route to that, for me, was through security.”

In Midland-Odessa, he said, the oil and gas industry is a little more lucrative and offered him a chance to earn a better living to support his wife and two children.

He worked in the field for three or four years before deciding to really deepen his knowledge. He enrolled in the Texas Engineering Extension Service at Texas A&M University, an occupational safety and health administration training center. He became a certified health and safety manager for general industry. Shortly after, he obtained the same certification for the construction.

Safety, he said, “is not only important but paramount. It is important with a capital ‘I’.

It’s a mindset that needs to be incorporated into everyday life, he said. This can lead to fewer incidents, better morale and higher productivity.

“We can do better,” he said. “Moms have to go home. Dads have to go home. Children need their moms and dads. My job is to bring people home. How do I do this? I educate them. I have children. I have grandchildren and I hope people like me teach the same thing: slow down, assess how you can do better. You cannot do this by rushing.

Has he become passionate about safety as he continues to teach it? “Maybe so,” he replied. Then he added: “I see a need and I see an opportunity that if I can get a person I come in contact with to slow down and reflect and assess what they are doing, I feel like for doing my job.”


About Author

Comments are closed.