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Safety efforts beefed up for oilfield workers as demand increases

August 21, 2005
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As worldwide oil consumption and demand spirals upward so does the stress on U.S. oilfield workers to meet those demands. That stress is especially being felt in Texas as new and inexperienced workers are filling an increased number of oilfield jobs. Twenty-five work-related deaths occurred in 2004 in the 63,000 square mile Lubbock region, according to OSHA.

In response to this situation the American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) Permian Basin Chapter (Midland, TX) is teaming up with local OSHA officials and the Texas Workers Compensation Commission to increase safety for oilfield workers in the wake of the increased demand for oil and gas.

As part of the effort to increase oilfield safety a two-day seminar will be held in Odessa, Texas, September 14-15, titled “Oilfield Safety on Drilling and Workover Rigs.”

Recently, OSHA has issued citations and proposed penalties totaling $100,500 against Big Dog Drilling (Midland, TX) following the investigation of a worker's electrocution at a drilling location. OSHA also issued citations against Patterson-UTI Drilling Co. and proposed penalties totaling $187,000 for safety violations that led to a worker's death.

“The Permian Basin oilfield business is booming, yet we lack the skilled workers to fill many of those jobs,” said ASSE Permian Basin Chapter President Carl Bailey. “Our chapter is responding to the needs of the community by sharing members' hands-on knowledge and experience in oilfield safety. With the demand for oil and gas at an all-time high, we need to share this key safety and health information with toolpushers, rig supervisors, geologists and managers to increase oilfield safety now.”

According to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 24 oil and gas worker fatalities in the 63,000 square mile Lubbock region in 2003 in the oil and gas industry and 68 nationally.

The ASSE two-day seminar will include sessions on safety and health for rigging, safety programs, environmental and health controls, personal protective equipment, fall protection, confined spaces, fire prevention, welding on or near rigs, lockout/tagout – when on a rig, crane regulations, how weather affects safety, fleet safety, hydrogen sulfide dangers, rig-up procedures, rigging practices, emergency action plans, pumps and pressures and their dangers, electrical hazards, well control and more.

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