Safety Solutions for a Start-Up Shale Company

By On March 11, 2015 3:12 pm

By: Kristie Kubovic, Director of Communications, Shale Media Group
Edited By: Mindy Gattner, Editor, Shale Media Group

DirkThomas Solutions is a shale oil and gas field service company that specializes in a wide spectrum of quality clear brine fluids, fluid filtration, and fluid recycling. Cameron Derzack, President, DirkThomas Solutions, expressed, “Our goal is to provide our clients with solutions that improve their efficiency, lower their costs, and increase their yield.”


Photo from DirkThomas Solutions

The company became involved in the shale oil and gas industry about a year ago, but ironically much of Derzack’s knowledge and training for the shale oil and gas industry came from his other business, Alert Snow, an advanced all-terrain snow and ice removal business, primarily in the telecommunications industry. Derzack is also the owner and president of Alert Snow.

“The ice and snow removal market requires a high degree of expertise and training. One of the results of our involvement in this industry was our development and understanding of clear brine fluids (CBF) for winter operations. This was a natural fit for the shale oil and gas industry as well. We then expanded our line of clear brine fluids for other purposes such as density and composition. Water filtration and recycling were a natural extension of CBFs in offering a comprehensive line of fluid management products,” relayed Derzack.

Headquartered in Leetsdale, PA and serving the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays, Derzack says, “It is a tremendous opportunity to be involved with the exciting, shale oil and gas industry that has global energy and environmental outreach. Plus it is based in our own back yard.”

Derzack added, “The quality of our product line is of critical important. We want to be known as the provider of elite and specialized CBFs, technologically advanced filtration, and recycling. In todays’ challenging economic environment, we believe that partnering with our clients to lower costs, while improving their operations, is a critical factor in developing long term relationships. We are highly motivated to provide unparalleled customer service. These are the points that differentiate us from our competition, while providing our clients with their own competitive advantage in their marketplace.”


In addition, health and safety are paramount to the shale oil and gas industry. Derzack explained, “We are a hands-on, frontline company that works daily in our clients’ environment. As such, we share their every health and safety concern. The standards in this industry in this regard are intense, to say the least. I can’t think of any other industry that is as concerned with health, safety, and the environment.”

In order to adhere to these strict health and safety regulations, DirkThomas Solutions voluntarily became ISNetworld® (ISN®, ISNet®) certified in their first year of business. Established in 2001, ISNetworld® is a global leader in contractor and supplier management and is a resource for the shale oil and gas industry as well as numerous other industries.

“ISNetworld® brings together hiring clients and contractors, creating safer work environments and lasting partnerships to help ensure compliance with safety and procurement standards,” according to ISN® points to “maintaining safety, insurance, quality, and regulatory information on contractors and suppliers” as items that could strain internal resources. “ISN® streamlines these processes, saving time, and improving safety standards.”

shale marketsRay Pader, CEO, Shale Markets, helps companies become ISNetworld® certified and recommends that any contractor currently doing or wanting to do business in the industry with any of the operators or those working on a rigsite become ISN® certified. Pader also helped DirkThomas Solutions become ISNetworld® certified.

Pader says there are essentially two phases in becoming ISNetworld® certified. The first phase starts with getting an ISN® account. The company that is applying receives a ‘To Do List’ which involves answering a questionnaire of about 2,000+ questions, which pertain to items such as business practices, services, insurance, safety training, workers’ compensation, and safety manuals, along with gathering all of the proper documents for prequalification.

Once these items are submitted, the company gets initial prequalification and receives a grade (which is similar to a student’s school grade) along with access to the ISNet® portal website. From there the company will be able to see where it has deficiencies. In addition, another company looking to hire can also see the same information, ensuring that a company that they might potentially hire has a ‘good’ grade.

“Many larger and some smaller companies in the shale oil and gas industry are going toward the ISNetworld® system. If a smaller company wants a big contract, ISN® aids in getting them in the door and is a way to help obtain that. If the hiring company requires a high score on ISNetworld®, it minimizes the risk and doesn’t compromise their insurance,” explained Pader.

In terms of length, Pader says the application for prequalification could take anywhere from six months, if a company is doing the process themselves, to a couple days, if a company is outsourcing it to a company with expertise in the subject. Pader added, “Those 2,000 plus questions are pre-graded before they are submitted, so that a company will know that they’ll get a nearly perfect score before submission.”

Derzack relayed, “In order to guide us in the process of becoming compliant, we sought the services of Shale Markets, who assisted us in our training and the submission of documents to ISNetworld®. It was a relatively straightforward process to set up an ISNetworld® account with their help.”

Once a company is certified and receives their ISN® profile, they don’t need to go through any type of annual recertification. However, they must constantly keep their profile up-to-date. Pader explained, “If a company gets a good grade, then ignores their profile, that grade will drop.” He recommends going into the profile on a weekly basis and keeping it up-to-date. Pader also says a company could partner with services that do this.

Implementation is the second portion of ISNetworld® certification. This involves a company getting audited to prove that they are doing everything that they say they are doing in the questionnaire. These audits could happen at any time and are not by ISN®, but rather by one of the operators or a third party hired for an audit. Pader says, “A company that is being audited could hire a company [like his], which would prepare the company for the audit and sit through it to make sure everything is fine. If anything does come up, they could create a solution, such as documents, right on the spot.”

According to, ISN® is a way “to standardize contractor management across multiple sites and geographic regions, clearly communicate requirements and expectations and exchange data with other internal systems. The result is lower incident rates and higher compliance numbers.” Essentially, ISN® is a third party pre-qualifier that collects important industry information and provides one centralized location to view that information. Participation with ISN® is a way for the industry to enforce high standards through audits.

Derzack adds, “It is critical and necessary for DirkThomas to be a part of ISNetworld®. This is the conduit that ensures our compliance with the requirements of our clients when it comes to health and safety issues. It is a great service and a way of life in this industry that must be embraced to be a part.”


In addition, DirkThomas has sent several employees through SafeLandUSA (SLUSA) Orientation Training, which was developed as a widely accepted, standardized safety and environmental orientation to set high minimum requirements with the primary goal of reducing the number of preventable incidents in the shale oil and gas industry to zero accidents. Certified SafeLand instructor and MAC Safety, Inc. president and founder Chris Miranda, explained, “SafeLand is required for access to most local shale oil and gas sites and is a pre-requisite to establish at least baseline safety knowledge. SafeLand training is an all-day safety course covering the basics in safety knowledge and shows a commitment from the company to invest in employee safety.”


Photo from Shale Media Group

Miranda says SafeLand class training topics include: incident reporting and investigation; accident prevention signs and tags; hand safety; material handling; behavioral safety; first aid/CPR/AED considerations; confined space; lockout/tagout; drug and alcohol/substance abuse; hazard communication; electrical safety; intervention/stop work authority; fire prevention and portable fire extinguishers; walking/working surfaces; job safety analysis/pre-job planning; personal protective equipment/respiratory; prevention of workplace violence; working at heights; permit to work; driver safety/transportation safety; environmental; excavation – trenching and shoring; industrial hygiene/occupational health; and site specific hazards and emergency evacuation.

For more on DirkThomas Solutions, check out For assistance with ISNetworld® pre-qualifications or audits, contact Ray Pader at or 304.99SHALE (304.997.4253). In addition, Shale Markets, LLC offers SafeLand Orientation Training up to twice a month. The seminars are held from 8am to 5pm in Bentleyville, PA at the Holiday Inn Express and in Monroeville, PA at the Holiday Inn. Monroeville’s next seminars will be held on March 3 and April 7. Bentleyville’s next seminar will be hosted on April 23. The cost is $195 per student and includes breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Visit and click on SafeLand Training for more information or to register.

Shale Markets is an independently owned company, with no agenda other than to help get you get approved by Third-Party Prequalification Providers such as ISNetworld®, PEC Premier®, PICS®,Complyworks®and CanQual®. That being said, Shale Markets is in no way endorsed, sponsored, approved by, or otherwise affiliated with ISNetworld®. ISN®, ISNetworld®, and RAVS® are registered trademarks of ISN Software Corporation.

Shale Media Group (SMG) is the news, information, and education resource dedicated to the shale oil and gas industries by messaging across video, Internet, publications, events, and radio. For more, check out to access all platforms, including SMG’s latest news delivery system–Shale Energy Business Briefing (SEBB), an ad-free subscription based service, where subscribers receive a real-time, daily email, featuring concise, hard hitting shale news 7 days/week, 365 days/year. To sign up, go to In addition, join us on March 19th for our next Elite Energy Event at the Holiday Inn Express in Bentleyville, PA from 5-8pm. Kristie Kubovic is the Director of Communications at Shale Media Group. Contact her at