The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have signed a two-year alliance with the National STEPS Network to promote safety in oil and gas exploration. This is just the latest instance of collaboration between NIOSH, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and OSHA, a similar agency within the Department of Labor.
The National STEPS Network is a volunteer association that encompasses 22 regional exploration and production safety networks. Together, the three organizations hope to prevent fatalities, illnesses and injuries among workers in this sector of the oil and gas industry. The agreement was signed at last week's Oil & Gas Safety and Health Conference in Houston.
"Too many oil and gas industry workers are being hurt or killed on the job," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels at the signing, prior to delivering the conference's keynote address. "These tragedies are preventable and we need to work together to address hazards, prevent injuries and save lives."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 112 oil and gas workers died last year, most of them with less than one year of experience on the job. Common causes of death included electrocution, exposure to silicon dioxide, fires and explosions and motor vehicle crashes. Given this data, NIOSH, OSHA and STEPS will work to develop instructional materials and safer workplace strategies.
Certified oil safety professionals can help companies comply with OSHA regulations through behavior based safety programs. Training workers to identify and prevent hazards is one of the most effective ways to cut down on oil and gas fatalities.