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Region 8 News Release: 13-172-DAK
Feb. 8, 2013
Contact: Scott Allen     Rhonda Burke
Phone:      312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov     burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA, Montana-North Dakota STEPS plan worker
safety stand-down for oil and gas industry in Bakken Basin Feb. 14

MINOT, N.D. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, along with the Montana-North Dakota chapter of the National Service, Transmission, Exploration and Production Safety Network, will kick off a monthlong safety stand-down for oil and gas industry employers operating in the Montana-North Dakota Bakken Basin on Feb. 14. The meeting will be held at the Sleep Inn and Suites, 24700 10th St. SW, Minot.

"MonDaks STEPS and OSHA are asking participating producers, operators and service companies to voluntarily stop work for a period during the weeks between Feb. 14 and March 14 to review their safety procedures in this hazardous working environment," said Eric Brooks, OSHA's area director in Bismarck. "A voluntary safety stand-down can be very helpful in focusing all workers on the importance of safe work practices."

Speakers at the meeting will include producers and operators working in the Bakken Basin, who will discuss their organization's goals to develop and sustain safe work practices. Brooks will make a presentation concerning the recent fatalities that have occurred in the industry. Greg Baxter, regional administrator for OSHA Region VIII in Denver, will also speak, along with Rick Ingram, president of the National STEPS Network, and Kenny Jordan, executive director of the Association for Energy Service Contractors.

The meeting will be webcast to additional locations in North Dakota, including Dickinson, Stanley, Williston, and New Town, as well as a location in Sidney, Mont. Participants must register online at http://www.rmecosha.com/NDakotaSTANDDOWN where training resources and a safety inspection checklist are available to assist participants in the stand-down activities.

The members of the MonDaks STEPS and OSHA are advocating for employers to commit at least 30 minutes of the workday to talk about safety.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fatality rate for the oil and gas industry was 28.8 per 100,000 workers, more than seven times higher than the rate for all industries. North Dakota has the second highest rate of work-related fatalities in the nation and is the second most active drilling state, after Texas.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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