TrainND in Williston is one of two entities statewide that will be offering a new standardized safety and orientation program for oilfield workers in the Bakken.

The program is called One Basin One way, and is being launched by the North Dakota Petroleum Council. It will help standardize training throughout the Bakken, as well as eliminate what has been duplicative training for thousands of workers.

“This is such a great opportunity for us,” said Kenley Nebeker, director for Technical Programs and Training at Williston State College, which includes the TrainND program. “We are all about safety and ensuring that our workforce is going to work confident and well-trained. This fits very well into our mission, and we really believe in the goals of this orientation.”

The new program is the result of a “grass roots” effort by the North Dakota Petroleum Council, Nebeker added.

Every year, contractors find themselves sitting through a multitude of required safety and orientation programs for each of the companies they work for. These programs are all similar, however.

The North Dakota Petroleum Council estimates workers are sitting through as many as eight redundant sessions a year and that companies are collectively losing 1.25 million manhours. Last spring, they set up a committee of 99 members, including producers, contractors and training providers, to develop a program that would help improve the training and eliminate inefficiencies. The result was the One Basin One Way program.

Kari Cutting, vice president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, said she believes the program will not only help increase workforce efficiency, but that it could also help improve the overall safety record for the industry.

“The utility industry in North Dakota started a similar program in 1996,” she said. “When they standardized the safety training and requirements, their safety record improved dramatically. We weren’t even looking necessarily for that originally in our discussion, but when that came through, that this could lead to better safety statistics, it was just a no-brainer to try and standardize.”

Nebeker is heading up the development team that’s writing the new orientation and safety program.

“We want something that is highly engaging, and that is really how we sold ourselves,” Nebeker said. “This will not be death by Powerpoint.”

The new program will include 55 prominent safety topics and will be offered by both TrainND and the North Dakota Safety Council. A third entity, Diamond B, will be providing a tracking system for certifications in the One Way program.

“They will provide the technology needed to ensure the certifications are going on the contractors’ cards,” Nebeker said. “So when they go on site and need certain certifications, diamond B has a program that makes tracking that utterly amazing. Their technology is mind-blowing. I’m excited to be partnered with them.”

The North Dakota Petroleum Council, meanwhile, is working on getting more companies signed up for the program.

“We are excited by what we are seeing so far for signups,” Nebeker said. “We’ll have a good idea by FEb. 19 who is on board and who is not. But I can see that continuing to grow. I think a lot of producers are anxious to see how this goes and what the final product looks like.”

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