2014 Governor's Safety
Award of Excellence
At the nomination of Caryn Rea, Sr. Staff Biologist at ConocoPhillips Alaska, we received this prestigious honor. Congratulations to our team for operating this incredibly safe and successful program!

2013 ConocoPhillips Safety
Ambassador Award
Olgoonik/Fairweather's Program Manager, Sheyna Wisdom, received this important award in 2013 at the nomination of Caryn Rea.

Safety is Our Top Priority

Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) is paramount to Olgoonik/Fairweather’s operations. We have operated up to five research vessels for the last seven years in the Arctic and take pride in having a safety record of zero recordable incidents (injury or spill), with over 395,000 man-exposure hours and while traveling over 13,000 miles.

Our safety record is not about the statistics. We have had a consistent team for the last seven years, allowing for family-like relationships to be cultivated. Because of this family environment, we look out for each other to ensure we all come home safely. This message is strongly reinforced in our Safety Goals:

Safety Goals in Order of Priority

  1. Come home safely
  2. Zero harm to our people
  3. Zero harm to the environment
  4. Zero incidents

Achieving a Great Safety Record

Our safety culture is not just “in the field”. We work year round to evolve our safety program through training, leadership development, lessons-learned, pre- and post-field debriefs. The phases throughout the year include planning, field, and post-field.

Cultural Awareness
Hands on drill - Aerial Rescue Signal Practice


An integral part of this safety record is requiring all field personnel and their managers to attend a 3-day HSE seminar held in Anchorage immediately prior to the field season. This action-packed seminar includes Hazard Identification, Job Safety Analysis (JSA) training and development using videos from actual operations, Behavioral Based Safety training, Harassment training, Cultural Awareness, establishment of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by leadership, hands-on vessel drills, science planning, and team building.

Hands on drill - life rafts
Team Building BBQ

All Field Personnel are required to have the following certifications:

  1. Offshore Survival Training (every other year)
  2. USCG Merchant Medical Evaluation (every other year)
  3. Pass 5-panel drug screen (every year)
  4. OSHA Basic 9 (every 3 years)
    • Hazard Communication
    • Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response
    • Job Safety Analysis
    • Lockout Tagout
    • Personal Protective Equipment
    • Slips, Trips and Falls
    • Bloodborne Pathogens
    • Back Safety
    • Fire Safety

On Vessel

Our commitment to safety continues during our activities in the field. Regularly scheduled safety meetings and drills ensure safety protocols are fully integrated into our work activities. Other on-vessel safety measures include:

  • Vessel & Equipment Audits
  • Vessel Drills (at least twice a week)
  • Daily Safety Meetings for ALL personnel
  • Tailgate Meetings prior to each shift
  • Leadership Meetings daily
  • Safety Committee Meetings weekly
  • Twice daily calls with onshore management
  • Twice daily calls with Community Communication Centers
  • Observation Cards, to include Near Miss, Good Catch
  • Perception Surveys

In addition to the regular meetings, we have instituted other above and beyond safety measures:

  • Only marine techs/vessel crew are authorized to perform high-risk deck operations
  • Personal Protection Equipment is required on deck and during crew changes at all times, including:
    • Safety glasses
    • Gloves
    • Steel-toed rubber boots
    • Mustang® work suits (Type V flotation)
    • Hard hats
  • Safety officer is on duty aboard all cruises
  • Medic with full clinic are aboard all cruises


At the end of the field season, we hold an after action review meeting for most field crew in Anchorage. This 1-day meeting allows all staff to discuss what worked and what did not work during the season. Action points identified in this meeting are incorporated into our Safety Management System for future operations. An analysis of the safety statistics are provided to the field team at this meeting for use in the lessons learned discussion.

Above and Beyond

We strive for environmental awareness and safety of the environment including protection of the local culture. Local Iñupiat communicators aboard our vessels weave traditional knowledge into the science program. These communicators and other whaling captains participate in our HSE Seminar at the beginning of the field season (show photo) and are onboard all cruises.

Olgoonik/Fairweather takes great pride in our relationship we have built with the Arctic coastal communities. During whaling season, all Olgoonik/Fairweather-operated vessels remain at least 25 nautical miles from the community to avoid any conflicts with the harvest. We provide a real-time vessel locator to all interested parties for transparency in our operations. In addition to calling into the Communication Centers established in each community every day, we have relationships with the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission (AEWC) and each community’s Whaling Commission to allow our continued operations without conflicts.

In 2014 Olgoonik/Fairweather was awarded the Governor's Safety Award for Excellence. Pictured left to right: Dept. of Labor Commissioner Dianne Blumer, John Duggan, Kevin Hand, Sheyna Wisdom, Conrad Nalesnik, Jeff Hastings and Alaska Safety Advisory Council Chair Jimmie Rogers.
Vessel audits and regular safety meetings are two methods by which safety is integrated into our daily operations.
All field personnel are required to attend cold water survival training classes every two years.
Vessel Marine Technicians use harnesses clipped to safety lines when operating near the rail reduce the risk of falling overboard.
First year participants are required to wear yellow hard hats, allowing vessel crew and other members of the team to easily identify them.