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Additional Measures Around Wellbores to Prevent Injury

Posted By Arnold & Itkin || 9-Jan-2015

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 requirements.

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.

Categories: Industrial Dangers, OSHA

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