Oil and Gas Extraction
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 2013 to 2017, 489 oil and gas extraction workers were killed on the job (Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries). Safety and health hazards and dangerous conditions that can result in fatalities for oil and gas workers include:
- Vehicle Accidents
- Struck-By/ Caught-In/ Caught-Between
- Explosions and Fires
- Confined Spaces
- Chemical Exposures
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:
- OSHA's General Industry Standards (29 CFR 1910)
- OSHA's Construction Standards (29 CFR 1926)
- General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act
Five OSHA regions located in areas of significant upstream activities use national, regional, and local emphasis programs to inspect oilfield worksites:
Exposures to hazards present in the oil and gas well drilling, servicing, and storage industry are addressed in specific OSHA standards for general industry.
Discusses health hazard information associated with oil and gas extraction activities.
- Multi-Gas Monitor for Oil and Gas Industry. OSHA and National STEPS Network and NIOSH Alliance, (December 2017). A hazard alert on the proper use and capabilities of multi-gas monitors.
- Prevention of Fatalities from Ignition of Vapors by Mobile Engines and Auxiliary Motors. OSHA and National STEPS Network and NIOSH Alliance, (June 2017). A hazard alert on how to prevent fires and explosions caused by ignition of vapors by motorized equipment during drilling, servicing, and production operations.
- Health and Safety Risks for Workers Involved in Manual Tank Gauging and Sampling at Oil and Gas Extraction Sites. NIOSH-OSHA Hazard Alert, (February 2016).
- Tank Gauging Hazard Alert. OSHA and National STEPS Network and NIOSH Alliance, (March 31, 2015). A hazard alert focusing on how to recognize and avoid hazards while opening thief hatches of chemical storage tanks.
- Hot Work in Oilfields. OSHA and National STEPS Network and NIOSH Alliance, (September 2016). A hazard alert on how to prevent fatalities associated with hot work on oilfield tanks, tankers and related equipment.
- Worker Exposure to Silica During Hydraulic Fracturing. OSHA-NIOSH Hazard Alert, (June 2012). Describes silica hazards identified during NIOSH field studies, and provides information on identifying and controlling silica overexposure.
- Frequently Asked Questions about Silica and Hydraulic Fracturing. OSHA.
- Silica Exposure during Hydraulic Fracturing (PDF). OSHA InfoSheet (Publicaton 3622), (2012).
- Industry Profile: Oil and Gas Well Drilling and Servicing (PDF). OSHA. Provides information for SIC Code Industry Group 138 - Oil and Gas Field Services, including Bureau of Labor Statistics, top 10 cited standards, and potential industry hazards.
- OSHA Fatal Facts, Oil Patch
- Oil and Gas Well Drilling and Servicing. OSHA eTool. Contains an illustrated guide describing potential hazards and their possible solutions, developed jointly by OSHA and the industry.