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NIOSH to study use of fall protection equipment by oil and gas extraction workers

July 25, 2012
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heavy equipmentFalls are one of the most common fatal events in the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry.

The frequent need to work at elevations and the misuse or non-use of fall protection systems makes fall injuries a significant hazard, according to NIOSH.

Workers employed by drilling contractors and well servicing companies (two-thirds of the workforce) spend much of their time working at elevations and are therefore the target population for this NIOSH fall protection project.

As part of this project focus group discussions and interviews will be conducted with oil and gas extraction workers to identify the factors that influence their use of fall protection systems. Detailed information will be collected about their perceptions of fall hazards, barriers to the correct use of fall protection systems, external influences on their use, and strategies for increasing their use.

This project will identify modifiable factors and corresponding interventions that will increase the use of fall protection systems in the oil and gas extraction industry. Recommendations will be developed for increasing the correct use of fall protection systems, tailored to oil and gas drilling companies and well servicing companies. NIOSH will also develop outreach products targeting the factors identified in our analysis of the focus group and interview data. These outreach products will be presented to workers and safety supervisors to ensure that they are appropriate and effective, and they will be disseminated through the information channels utilized by the target audience.

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