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Oil Field Safety in America


In the last article on oil field accidents, we discussed an article that describes some of the positive changes in Europe’s approaches to safety in the oil field. A question that was raised at the end of that article considered the state of oil field safety in America. Does America follow the same trend as Europe.

Safety Standards in Europe

To briefly recap some of the points made in the previous article, for the past several years Europe has been investing a lot of money in worker safety in the oil field. It seems that these investments are indeed paying off.

As mentioned in the previous article, workers are starting to take notice of the increased emphasis on worker safety and the improved morale has made for qualitatively better work environments. To see if this experience is comparable with those of American oil field workers, I sat down and spoke with an oil field worker who works as a supervisor on a platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil Field Workers in America

For obvious reasons, this worker wished to remain anonymous. We will refer to him as MB. MB is 50-yr-old supervisor on an offshore drilling rig and has been working for the same company for a little over 30 years.

MB has noticed several changes in the industry over the years. When asked about the status of worker safety in the oil field, he responded, “Well, I think it depends on where you are working. I’ve only worked off the coast of Louisiana and when I talk with guys working up north or off the coast of California, there some to be some differences.”

I then asked about some of these differences and what seems to be the biggest difference lies in the emphasis of worker safety. In other places, there is a lot of emphasis on safety meetings before going on jobs but in MB’s experience, companies in the gulf tend to invest more in extensive safety training.

“I spend about a month’s worth of my off time each year in safety courses that train us on how to effectively use safety procedures. It’s not required necessarily, but the incentive is there to take them with bonuses, promotions and all that, so I take em’ as well as many of my co-workers.”

Based on my brief interview with MB, it does seem that American oilfield companies are making the investments in worker safety. The results of this will be seen in both the number of accidents that occur as well as how those accidents are handled. I thank MB for his time in this interview and we hope to see improved safety in the workplace as companies and employees take the time to advance worker safety.

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