Over 450,000 workers were employed in the oil and gas extraction and support industries in 2011 (Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages). These workers are engaged in many different industrial processes needed to successfully drill and service a well. These processes frequently require the use of specialized equipment and specialized work crews.
From 2003 to 2010, 823 oil and gas extraction workers were killed on the job-a fatality rate seven times greater than the rate for all U.S. industries (Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries). This database also reports similar fatality rates since at least the early 1990s. Safety and health hazards and dangerous conditions that can result in fatalities for oil and gas workers include:
The information and resources provided on this web page can help workers and employers identify and eliminate hazards in their workplace. The web page introduces applicable OSHA regulatory requirements, as well as industry standards and guidance aimed at identifying, preventing, and controlling exposure to hazards.
Employers must protect the safety and health of workers involved in oil and gas operations according to:
Five OSHA regions located in areas of significant upstream activities use national, regional, and local emphasis programs to inspect oilfield worksites:
Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). For more information see www.whistleblowers.gov or worker rights.
OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to OSHA's Regional & Area Offices webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
Small business employers may contact OSHA's free and confidential on-site consultation service to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites and work with OSHA on correcting any identified hazards. On-site consultation services are separate from enforcement activities and do not result in penalties or citations. To contact OSHA's free consultation service, go to OSHA's On-site Consultation webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and press number 4.
Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Employees can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eCompliant Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to your local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by an employee are more likely to result in an inspection.
If you think your job is unsafe or you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). It's confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.
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