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Oil & Gas Industry

03 February, 2023

The combination of powerful equipment, flammable chemicals, and high pressures cause jobs in the oil and gas industry to turn deadly a lot quicker than other industries. This is why it's essential safety managers and supervisors identify and communicate recommended safety controls and hazards that exist on each work site before work begins. Understand the biggest threats to worker safety, background on the current state of the industry, and the most cited OSHA standards related to the industry.



The following is a transcript of the Oil & Gas Industry Infographic:

Oil & Gas Industry

The oil and gas industry is one the most dangerous jobs in America, this is why it has one of the most thorough safety training programs.

Despite safety procedures and safeguards in place, according to the CDC, the fatality rate was 7x higher compared to all other industries in the U.S. from 2003-2010.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) respresents all facets of the oil and natural gas industry. The API represents nearly 400 corporations in the petroleum industry and assists with standards for refinement, production, and distribution of petroleum products.

From 2003-2013, the oil and gas extraction industry went through unexpected growth doubling the size of their workforce and increasing the number of drilling rigs by 71%.

A new study from 2017 by API showed the natural gas and oil industry employed 10.3 million people in the U.S. and contributed more than $1 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2015.

The boom in employment and activity also spiked the number of work-related fatalities by 27.6% and resulted in 1,189 deaths (CDC).

Since May 2017, oil and gas resources generated nearly $55 billion in total spending in the economy (BOEM Fact Sheet).

2015 Fatalities in the Mining Sector:

Reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017

  • 74% due to oil and gas extraction industries
  • 26% due to all other mining

Biggest Threats to Oil Rig Worker Safety:

  • Human Error
  • Worker Culture
  • Recklessness
  • Negligence
  • Lack of proper personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Miscommunication
  • Misuse of equipment

A recent report by the International Labour Organization found that "the challenge for the oil and gas industry is to be able to quickly and effectively respond to potential vast and serious incidents."

After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in 2010, the U.S. Department of the Interior formed two new independent agencies to be responsible for offshore energy management and enforcement:

  1. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE): enforces safety and environmental protection regulations for the offshore oil and natural gas industry on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
  2. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM): responsible for offshore renewable energy-related management activities and development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

The year 2010 marked the beginning of the modern safety culture era of the offshore industry when SEMS (Safety and Environmental Management Systems) became a law.

SEMS II is a mandatory program enforced by BSEE. The program serves as a tool for rig operators to enhance employee training, empower field level safety managers with their safety management decisions, and improve auditing procedures.

Top 5 Most Cited Federal OSHA Standards

in the Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction Industry (October 2015-September 2016):

  1. Hazard Communication:
  • Citations: 57
  • Penalty: $61,114
  1. General requirements:
  • Citations: 34
  • Penalty: $68,793
  1. OSHA Act General Duty Paragraph
  • Citations: 32
  • Penalty: $172,124
  1. Wiring methods (equipment for general use and components)
  • Citations: 29
  • Penalty: $47,502
  1. Guarding floor and wall openings and holes
  • Citations: 23
  • Penalty: $36,381

A survey conducted by ISHN revealed the top health and safety goal for 2017 for oil and gas and utility/energy professionals was to

  • develop and/or improve their safety culture (60%)
  • following new hire safety training and refresher training (58%)

Top 5 Events with the Most Fatalities in the U.S. Oil & Gas Extraction Industry (2003-2015)

  1. Transportation: 479 deaths (40.3%)
  2. Contact injuries: 308 deaths (25.9%)
  3. Fires/Explosions: 170 deaths (14.3%)
  4. Exposure to harmful environments: 105 deaths (8.8%)
  5. Falls: 97 deaths (8.2%)
  6. Other: 30 deaths (2.5%)

1,189 Deaths Total

Highway vehicle accidents make up 4 out of 10 fatalities of workers in the oil and gas extraction industry.

Contact injuries (objects or equipment) are responsible for the second highest number of deaths.

Most Important Safety Signs in the Oil & Gas Industry

Effective safety labeling and signage is essential to communicate specific worker equipment and safety procedures when face-to-face communication isn't always possible.

Understand how these three main categories of safety signs mandated by OSHA are crucial to the oil and gas industry:

DANGER'- Apply in areas where there's a threat of immediate danger that will cause serious injury or death if not avoided, such as:

  • Arc flash and shock hazards
  • Rotating driveline hazards
  • Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) exposure
  • Confined space entry
  • Crucial for workers who may be unfamiliar with the job site

CAUTION'- Communicate areas where precaution is needed to protect against unsafe practices such as:

  • Slip and trip hazards
  • Moving vehicles and machinery on the work site
  • High-pressure valves
  • PPE requirements
  • Highly flammable material storage areas

Safety Instructions- Clearly communicate procedures in various locations on the job site.

  • Convey procedures and hazards specific to the work site and work crew
  • Streamline the workflow in all areas of the job site
  • Direct personnel to safety equipment like eye wash stations and first aid kits
  • Communicate steps for safe operation of specific equipment
  • Reduce overall confusion

For your floor marking and wayfinding needs, implement PathFinder Tread floor tape to provide a durable grip on wet floors, on elevated platforms, and other slippery surfaces to prevent slips and falls.

Execute a safer operation using effective visual communication. Download our Oil & Gas Industry Signage Requirements guide. 888.326.9244.