Dissidence Between Safety Meetings & Safety in Practice in Oilfield
Jobs in the oilfield can often mean dangerous work. Many companies that engage in drilling meet these dangers with safety regulations and concerns. In spite of many efforts to combat these dangers with safety procedures there continues to be a large number of oilfield accidents.
Dustin Bleizeffer, a writer for the Casper Star-Tribune, has had an article featured in the Billings Gazette that looks at an instance of how safety procedures in the oilfield can get lost as they travel down the ladder.
Ron Kruske, a floor hand working with a drilling company, recalled an event to Bleizeffer where worker safety procedures were initiated in a meeting before the job but were lost in the shuffle as soon as the crew went to work.
Oilfield Safety Meeting
Kruske recalled feeling good about safety procedures during the mornings safety meeting before he and the drilling crew went to work. After a matter of ten minutes on the job Kruske observed several of the established safety procedures being flagrantly violated.
Wanting to hold the drilling supervisor to his word in the morning meeting, Kruske spoke up and called a halt to the job to ensure that safety procedures would be followed. The article in the Billings Gazette went on to describe Kruske being chewed out by the driller in front of everyone.
“(The driller) told me to look the other way. He said if I didn’t feel like looking the other way to get the hell off his location. I wish I would have,” recalled Kruske to the writer.
Safety Requires More Than Meetings
Kruske, and many other workers in the oilfield, know all too well these so-called ‘tailgate’ safety meetings. The change in attitude towards safety that is implied by these meetings is a welcome change but seldom results in actual change.
Kruske is one of many workers in the oilfield that have testified in court to improve legislation. It is difficult for workers to actually feel safe and advocated for by the companies they work for.
“These guys are good,” said Kruske to the Billings Gazeete. “They go to school to learn how to talk the talk. They know how to make you feel real good. But it’s completely different when it comes to doing the job.”