The oil and gas industry is booming in Texas and throughout the U.S. According to Occupational Health & Safety Magazine, employment in this industry is up 60 percent since 2009. That means thousands more workers in oilfields, transportation and refineries, in jobs that are often far more dangerous than those found at a typical workplace. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found the fatality rate in the oil and gas industry to be almost eight times the national average.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists numerous hazards that oil and gas workers may face on a daily basis, including:
- Explosions and fires
- Vehicle accidents
- Being struck by or caught in or between machinery or objects
- Electrical hazards
- High pressure lines and equipment
Personal protective equipment and other measures can reduce the risk of serious or fatal accidents on oil and gas worksites - and are required by OSHA. However, the author of an article in Occupational Safety and Health magazine says that regulations for personal protective equipment are limited. He called for employers to adopt standards for education and personal protective equipment, starting with hand protection.
Regardless of whether standards are in place, oil and gas employers can take measures to improve worker safety and reduce the likelihood of an OSHA citation. Because crush injuries are historically very common for hands, the author recommends:
- Making sure that workers take steps to keep their hands away from hazardous areas
- Using high-visibility gloves that can help workers be more aware of their hands and co-workers' hands
The right hand protection can reduce the frequency of impact injuries. Flame-resistant gloves can reduce injuries from fire and explosions. The author says that simple steps could prevent thousands of injuries every year.
An OSHA attorney can help you train employees to use protections on the job and can assist you if OSHA investigates or cites you after an accident.