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Region 5 News Release: 13-1643-CHI
Sept. 23, 2013
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:       312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA, Buckeye STEPS Network establish
alliance to address hazards associated with oil and gas operations

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has established an alliance with the Buckeye Service, Transmission, Exploration and Production Safety Network to provide participating employers with guidance and access to training resources to address hazards associated with oil and gas operations.

"This alliance reflects a mutual recognition of the importance of ensuring workers' safety and health in the growing oil and gas industry," said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA's area director in Columbus. "We are working together to spread awareness and ensure employers have the ability to address issues effectively, such as air contaminants, chemical exposure, vehicle operations and heat stress, which are the leading causes of injury and illness in this industry."

As part of the voluntary alliance, OSHA and the Buckeye STEPS Network will share information on OSHA's emphasis programs, regulatory agenda and opportunities to participate in the rulemaking process. Additionally, they will participate in forums and stakeholder meetings regarding safety and health issues, work together to forge solutions and share information through outreach and communication goals.

The oil and gas extraction industry recorded a 10-year high in fatal occupational injuries in 2012. According to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 138 workers in the private oil and gas extraction industry died as a result of work-related injury in 2012. From 2003 to 2012, 1,073 workers in this industry have been killed. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/oilgaswelldrilling.

The alliance is focused on improving safety and health programs, promoting a cooperative relationship between OSHA and the oil and gas industry, and encouraging worker participation to achieve a safe and healthful workplace. It aims to meet these goals through increased training resources, implementation of best work practices and compliance with applicable OSHA standards and regulations.

Buckeye STEPS and OSHA Alliance will also participate in the National Voluntary Stand Down of U.S. Onshore Oil and Gas Exploration and Production, co-sponsored by National STEPS, oil and gas industry groups and OSHA which is planned for Nov. 14. A "stand down" is a voluntary, coordinated pause in the workday to discuss and address workplace safety issues.

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with unions, consulates, trade and professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources and to educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. Alliance Program participants do not receive exemptions from OSHA inspections. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/alliances/index.html.

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, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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