New OSHA Resources Focus on Oilfield Hazards
Two new OSHA resources—a training module and hazard alert—are intended to help protect workers in the oil and gas industry. The new training module on transportation was added to OSHA’s online Oil and Gas Well Drilling and Servicing eTool, which identifies common hazards and possible solutions to reduce incidents that could lead to injuries or fatalities. According to OSHA, highway vehicle crashes are the leading cause of worker fatalities in the oil and gas extraction industry. The new module covers the transportation of personnel and equipment, vehicle operation at well sites, and all-terrain vehicles and utility task vehicles, and describes potential solutions to fatigue, distracted driving, weather factors, and other conditions that can make travel to and from work at well sites dangerous. OSHA’s eTool is available on the agency’s website.
OSHA’s new hazard alert (PDF) lists specific practices for employers and workers that can prevent fatalities from fires and explosions caused by the ignition of vapors by mobile engines and auxiliary motors. According to the alert, 85 deaths due to fires or explosions occurred at oil and gas sites between 2005 and 2015, including 27 attributed to mobile engines or motors. The hazard alert stresses that fire risk assessments can ensure safe positioning of all motorized equipment during operations and are “essential” to preventing fires and explosions. Engineering controls, preventative measures, and safe work practices and procedures are also covered in the one-page alert.
Both new resources were developed through OSHA’s alliance with NIOSH and the National Service, Transmission, Exploration and Production (STEPS) Network, an all-volunteer organization comprising safety and health professionals in the oil and gas industry. More information on the alliance is available on OSHA's website.