OSHA announces safety stand-down in the oil and gas exploration industry

OSHA announces safety stand-down in the oil and gas exploration industry

On January 24, 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a safety stand-down will take place among companies in the oil and gas exploration sector, which will last through February 28. 

The stand-down is the result of a partnership in which OSHA teamed up with the National Service, Transmission, Exploration and Production Safety Network, or STEPS, to sponsor the safety push. The initiative will promote safety and health measures at oil and gas exploration and extraction operations throughout the South Central United States, including Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. 

“This safety stand-down is an important effort to bring heightened safety and health awareness for workers in the oil and gas industry to identify and eliminate work-related hazards,” said John Hermanson, OSHA’s regional administrator in Dallas. “There is tremendous value in dedicating time during a workday to make a concerted effort to provide training.”

In the days after the stand-down event began, companies taking part in the initiative chose which training events they would like to see take place at their workplaces. A number of firms even pledged to conduct worksite inspections voluntarily, during which they would identify and record hazards presents in the workplace, and develop plans to eliminate the hazards. 

The voluntary inspections will also include training programs that will take place during the safety stand-down, while OSHA will provide all necessary materials and resources for the training. 

In line with the agency’s measures to crackdown on hazardous workplaces and enforce its OSHA maintenance standards, the federal entity also recently released a reminder to employers in all sectors to be mindful of exposure to carbon monoxide

According to the release, the cold weather that has settled across much of the U.S. should serve as an opportunity for employers to reevaluate the measures they have in place to protect workers from carbon monoxide poisoning. OSHA noted one recent instance in which a facility worker in New England was found unconscious and having seizures, which was found to be the result of carbon monoxide poisoning.

An early investigation has confirmed that all of the windows and doors to the facility were closed to keep the heat from escaping, but because an exhaust venting system had not been put in place, carbon monoxide levels rose to dangerous highs. 

“Every year, workers die from carbon monoxide poisoning, usually while using fuel-burning equipment and tools in buildings or semi-enclosed spaces without adequate ventilation,” OSHA said in its release. “This can be especially true during the winter months when employees use this type of equipment in indoor spaces that have been sealed tightly to block out cold temperatures and wind.”

During such OSHA inspections, having accurate records on hand can greatly expedite the investigatory process. 

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