Rotational workforces a boon for oil and gas industry

Although it had an Alberta focus, a report released this summer by the Petroleum Labour Market Information Division of Enform, the Western Canadian oil and gas industry is moving toward a more rotational workforce.

A number of underlying factors leading to the growth are examined and among them are an improved life style for workers and their families, as well as improved productivity.

Maintaining worker safety was found to be one of the key drivers in developing a rotational workforce, with some of workers interviewed suggesting the focus and due diligence around safety was far stricter at work camps than at sites where workers went home at the end of the day.

Cameron MacGillivray, President and CEO of Enform, says the work camps offer a number of safety benefits to industry and communities near job sites, noting “Workers are kept off the road after long shifts and attention to safety is a priority inside of the camps.”

The research also highlighted, that many workers — particularly at job sites in the north — would rather have rotational work camp jobs, than be forced to relocate in the areas where the jobs are available.

Mark Salkeld is President of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada.

“People that typically go into those work situations, they’re there to make money. It does set the stage for a better outcome,” Salkeld said.

“The attraction for some that do like their R and R, and can’t get it on the weekends, well, if they can work 20 days and get 10 off, then they like that.

Salkeld continued: “If you can save on time transferring people in and out, and have your crews in closer to the source, that’s what you want, especially in the north.

“Your crews are there, they’re on location, they’re close at hand. I’d say you have 99 per cent success that the guys are there to work. You’re always going to have a wildcard, they usually call those home fairly fast and get rid of them.

“Especially nowadays when there’s so many people looking for work,” he said.