The oil and gas industry saw its highest rate of fatalities in 2012, according
to statistics gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This shocking
number has led to the implementation of many new safety procedures for
offshore rigs and land-based oil fields. Drilling for oil carries inherent
risks, and the wellbore areas pose their own unique set of hazards.
To counter the rise in injuries and deaths, Wyoming's Department of
Workforce Services (DWS) Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) have implemented a number of new regulations regarding wellbore
safety and drilling rigs.
Wellbores, the openings drilled to access oil, gas, or water, or to aid
in their exploration, carry the potential for high pressures and flammable
contents. Among the new protocols, all workers within 75 feet of a wellbore
must wear fire-resistant clothing. This is to prevent burns in the event
that a well should catch fire, which could result in a catastrophic inferno
or explosion. This new regulation will be added to the existing safety
measures in place at drilling sites, including mandatory inspections,
reviews, and construction guidelines.
OSHA Safety Regulations on a Federal and State Level
The safety of oil rigs and platforms is regulated by the Occupational Safety
and Health Administration (OSHA), which establishes federal requirements,
mandatory inspection schedules, and other safety topics. Each state has
its own regulatory agency, leading to more stringent safety measures in
some areas. In addition to Wyoming, several other states have implemented
similar requirements, including Texas and Colorado.
An additional rule was implemented in Wyoming, requiring the installation
of emergency shutdown devices on all diesel engines used on oil rigs.
These safety devices will automatically turn off engines in certain situations,
such as fires, and will override all other commands.
The implementation of these regulations is critical for minimizing the
injuries and fatalities occurring in one of the most dangerous industries
in the U.S. With growing concerns over the safety of workers, both federal
and state agencies are looking to protect workers with more stringent
If you believe that OSHA guidelines are not being implemented in your workplace,
or that the neglect of regulations led to an injury, contact an attorney
today. Arnold & Itkin has helped oil rig workers across the country
who have been harmed by unsafe work practices.
Contact us today for a free consultation.