February 23, 2021 | Mark Paradies

Improving Safety at Nine Energy Service

Improving Safety Success Story

Submitted by Jeff Gleason
Corporate Incident and Claims Manager
Nine Energy Service


Nine Energy Service, Inc. is committed to conducting business in a manner that protects the health, safety, and security of our employees and is compatible with the environmental and economic needs of the communities in which we operate. Continuous improvement of our HSE performance is essential to creating a leading international completion and production service company and the responsibility of every employee.

We measure safety by our Total Recordable Incident Rate and the severity rate of the incidents. In 2016, our TRIR was 1.26 and in 2017, it went up to 1.44. These injuries were too high and were headed in the wrong direction.

In addition, our incident investigations and root cause analyses were inconsistent as well as our presentations to management.

The problems were so persistent that our management had little confidence in our ability to improve. We needed something new to make improvement possible.


In 2018, we started implementing TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis after I attended a public 5-Day TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Course. The course opened my eyes to what was possible with advanced root cause analysis.

In 2018 our TapRooT® RCA implementation started gradually in one business line. Plus, we started teaching business leaders about Safeguard Analysis, the slip and a catch phenomenon, and SMARTER corrective actions. You can think of this initial implementation as a trial use – a proof of concept.

In 2019, I was promoted to be in charge of Incident Investigation and Claims Management for the whole corporation. We implemented TapRooT® RCA across the whole corporation and started making further improvements in our safety performance. This was a start, but we still had a lot to achieve.

By 2020, we committed to thorough root cause analysis and the use of TapRooT®. This included:

  • Requiring developing a SnapCharT® for all injuries, no matter the severity. (If it was reported, at least a SnapCharT® was drawn to thoroughly understand what happened.)
  • A review (by me) of all TapRooT® Investigations to ensure consistency and quality.
  • A 24-hour post-incident call with the HSE and Operations teams to discuss the incident, the immediate actions taken, and share what information was available.
  • Schedule a pre-investigation meeting with the investigation team and a debriefing once the investigation was complete.
  • Require an engineering control to be part of the corrective actions. If an engineering control was not possible, the team leader would have to provide a written explanation of why the engineering control could not be implemented.
  • A closing call for the investigation team and management to discuss the findings, corrective actions, and implementation strategies.

We found this gradual implementation over 2+ years allowed us to learn as we implemented and to eventually make significant progress while management learned to trust the system.


What did we achieve? 

First, our customers were blown away by the thoroughness of our investigations and the effectiveness of our corrective actions.

Also, even when we were in the initial stages of implementation, we started seeing results in our safety statistics. The company’s TRIR trends are:

2017 – 1.44 (baseline year)
2018 – 0.88 (39% improvement in a partial year with implementation in just one division)
2019 – 0.77 (47% improvement since initial implementation now across all divisions)
2020 – 0.30 (79% improvement since our baseline year)

Here are the other safety statistics:

Medical Treatment Cases

2017 – 13
2018 – 18
2019 – 17
2020 – 3

Restricted Workday Cases

2017 – 11
2018 – 3
2019 – 4
2020 – 0

Lost Time Cases

2017 – 11
2018 – 10
2019 – 3
2020 – 0

In addition to improving our safety statistics, the HSE Team and the incident investigators have earned the respect of the Operations Team, our management, our CEO, and the Board of Directors.

Each month we hold an incident review call with our CEO and other executives to discuss our most severe incidents. At the end of 2020, we had our final call of the year. We discussed four stop-work events, but we didn’t have any serious injuries to discuss in the last quarter. 

TapRooT® was a significant part of our effort to improve our safety performance. It wasn’t all that we did, but it was a game-changer in our improvement efforts. 

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