Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry join federal and state “stand down” for safety

Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry responded to a major workplace safety initiative last week.

Over 500 representatives from oil and natural gas exploration, production and contracting businesses turned out for a half day event on Thursday (June 21) at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma Ctiy. The goal of the event was to bring attention to the significant rise in the number of work-related deaths in the industry.

A request was made for companies to initiate a “stand down” to be conducted between now and the end of July. “We are asking for companies to take 30 minutes or longer to conduct jobsite inspections and train employees on jobsite hazards and safety standards” said David Bates, Area Director for federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “With nine deaths in Oklahoma since October 1, 2011, as well as a drilling rig fire resulting in three hospitalizations, safety should become the highest priority.”

An industry safety group, MCEPS (Mid-Continent Exploration and Safety Network), along with federal OSHA and the Oklahoma Department of Labor, joined forces for the voluntary stand down initiative.

Labor Commissioner Mark Costello will recognize those companies that participate in the stand down with a commendation and a practical step in support of safety. He informed attendees at the Cox Center event that the Oklahoma Department of Labor offers a no-fee “Safety Pays” OSHA Consultation program.

“It is non-punitive and we must be invited in, but we have the resources to help you identify hazards and to help you correct those hazards” Commissioner Costello stated.  “We want your employees to go home the same way they came to work.”

Oklahoma has long been a leader in oil and gas and now the industry will lead the way in safety and health.

For more information regarding the stand down initiative, visit their website.