oil and gas industry stand downOSHA and the Mid-Continent Exploration & Production Safety Network (MCEPS) are sponsoring a voluntary “safety stand-down” to bring awareness to the recent rise in fatal accidents in the oil and gas industry, and promote safety and health practices at oil and gas exploration and production sites throughout Oklahoma.

More than 500 representatives from oil and natural gas exploration, production, and contracting attended a half-day training event at which information and tools were provided to carry out the state-wide stand down activities.

"It is hoped that the stand-down will not only heighten awareness for workers in the oil and gas industry, but also identify and eliminate work-related hazards," said John Hermanson, OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas. The Stand Down will continue until July 20, 2012. Participating companies are encouraged to conduct worksite inspections and employee training during the event.

MCEPS is a cooperative alliance made up of OSHA's Oklahoma City Area Office and oil and gas industry representatives. Alliance members will encourage employers to voluntarily stop work at job sites to conduct site inspections as well as safety and health training for employees regarding the leading causes of work-related incidents and deaths in the industry.

At a June 21 MCEPS meeting, OSHA Oklahoma City Area Director David Bates emphasized that members should – and encourage subcontractors to – participate in the stand-down event. OSHA provided training materials to those in attendance to aid in training their employees during the job site inspections. Some employers already have committed to conducting site inspections, documenting and eliminating hazards, and training workers at oil and gas sites during the stand-down.

Through the Alliance Program, OSHA works with unions, consulates, trade and professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, and businesses and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources, and educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. Alliance program participants do not receive exemptions from OSHA programmed inspections. For more information on this and other cooperative programs, visit www.osha.gov/dcsp/compliance_assistance/index_programs.html.