A coalition of more than 40 organizations is urging the federal government to take steps to protect workers at oil and gas facilities from the coronavirus.
In a letter to the Interior Department, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), Coast Guard and OSHA, the groups specifically call for monthly public reporting on COVID-19 testing and infection rates at oil and gas facilities.
The coalition, which includes a number of environmental groups, also called for requiring companies operating the facilities to put forth coronavirus response plans and for the government to monitor and report on the implementation of these plains. The groups additionally asked OSHA to presume that some exposures are “work related” when reporting work-related illnesses.
“The offshore oil industry presents a high risk for oil workers, as oil rig employees spend shifts working on site, sleeping and eating in tight quarters,” the groups wrote. “Onshore oil and gas workers, particularly those living in ‘man camps’ are also at risk from close contact on the job and in quarters.”
“It is incumbent on federal regulators to investigate whether oil and gas operators are sanitizing workspaces, evacuating workplaces when necessary and adopting strict safety protocols such as temperature checks and frequent COVID-19 testing,” they added.