How Companies in the Oil and Gas Industry Can Reduce Health & Safety Risks Using Online Training

08 November 2018

Are you investing enough in safety at your company? Not every company in the oil and gas industry is. Oil and Gas is among the riskiest of all industries. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there were 112 fatalities in the oil and gas industry in the country in 2011—the latest year for which final numbers are available. Over the 5-year period from 2007 to 2011, there were 529 fatalities in the oil and gas industry.

This industry also saw its share of non-fatal injuries. The Labor Bureau estimated that there were 1,400 nonfatal injuries and illnesses occurring in oil and gas extraction in 2011. In industries supporting oil and gas extraction, the same data shows that there were 8500 injuries and illnesses, the majority of which were in operations. These numbers may be higher since the industry sometimes underreports worker mishaps.  

The good news is that safety in the oil and gas industry is improving. In fact, companies in the industry are working hard to boost safety, says data from several industry groups in an article in Power Technology. But that may not be enough for you company. So, you may have concerns about safety at your company’s worksites—especially if you’re in the Texas oil and gas industry.

oil and gas industry

Texas Records Highest Number of Fatalities

The Texas oil and gas industry has one of the highest rates of fatality in the U.S. The state recorded the highest number of fatal occupational injuries in the industry in 2011 with 199, according to the Labor Bureau. This total is more than that of the next three states combined, with 153 (Oklahoma had 64, Louisiana had 62, and New Mexico had 27).  

Texas also has one of the highest rates of severe injuries occurring in the country in the upstream oil and gas market, according to an article in E&E News. That’s in contrast to the industry’s claims that its overall injury rate is much less than the national average. But data given by OSHA regarding severe injuries is in line with the industry’s rate of severe injury. These were injuries requiring hospitalization or amputation.

Good Safety is Good Business

If you’re a manager in the Texas oil and gas industry, you may see boosting as a needless expense. It’s not. In fact, it makes sense. Fatal and nonfatal injuries cost O&G companies millions annually. One report estimates the average cost of a fatality occurring in the U.S. mining industry, which includes oil and gas extraction, from 1992 to 2001 was

US$1,026,000. That’s a significant cost—no matter what size your company.

But cutting costs isn’t the only reason to boost safety. Other data shows that good safety is good business. A recent article in Drilling Contractor, for example, makes the case that investing in worker health and safety practices increases profitability, providing several case studies to support its claim. (Of course, the main reason for boosting safety is always the health and well-being of workers and their families).

oil and gas industry

Boosting Safety in Oil and Gas Industry Cost-effectively

An excellent safety-driven organization for managers in the Texas oil and gas industry to contact is OSHCON—a free and confidential service for private employers. Offered by the Texas Department of Insurance, this service means that experiences safety and health consultants are available for companies across the state. OSHCON helps employers identify and eliminate occupational hazards in the workplace.

Companies can schedule appointments online with OSHCON to take advantage of this highly successful program. Below are several other contacts oil and gas managers can get in touch with to help them boost safety cost-effectively:

  •       Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP)
  •       The National Examination Board in Occupational and Safety (NEBOSH)
  •       National Service, Transmission, Exploration, & Production Safety (STEPS)
  •       National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
  •       Work Safe. Texas

These resources can help you boost safety without costing you an arm and a leg. That’s all well and good. But if you’re serious about boosting safety at your company, you’re first step should be to invest in a cloud-based online health and safety training program.

Investing in Online Training Makes Sense

Investing in online training makes sense from all angles. Many oil and gas injuries stem from careless or reckless actions by workers, employee negligence, and a failure to train employees properly. Safety is especially problematic among contractors and temporary workers. Because of their unfamiliarity with this temporary work, they are at high risk when it comes to workplace accidents and injuries.

Oil and gas companies can eliminate many of these injuries with proper health and safety training programs, especially when onboarding new workers. Studies show that companies providing effective health and safety programs during onboarding can reduce compensation costs from 20 to 40 percent. That’s critical in the oil and gas industry where recovery from injury often takes longer than in other industries.

Plus, the traditional model of classroom-based learning no longer cuts it—especially when it comes to contractors and temporary workers. This model has too many downsides to be effective with today’s workers. That’s why more and more companies are turning to other approaches to safety training to help reduce injury.

oil and gas industry

Online Safety Training: A Proven Solution

Online health and safety training programs are proven solutions. They’re cost-effective methods of preventing workplace injury and boosting the bottom line.

Online safety training:

  •       Boosts accountability, responsibility, and tracking
  •       Standardizes safety training
  •       Improves safety training effectiveness
  •       Avoids compliance penalties
  •       Shortens the time needed to train workers
  •       Increases worker productivity and morale
  •       Captures/distributes “tribal” knowledge

These benefits can help your company to not only enhance safety but also increase productivity, boost quality, and operate more efficiently. Keep in mind that the cost of workplace injury comes directly from company profits.

If you’re a manager in the Texas oil and gas industry concerned about safety at your company, online health and safety training could be just what the doctor ordered. Combined with help from other resources, like OSHCON and SHARP, an online program can take your safety program to the next level without driving up costs substantially.


Jenny Snook

Jenny Snook is content executive at GoContractor with the job of researching the latest health and safety trends in the heavy industry. Her past-experience includes the research of large museum collections such as the Louth County Museum, many from the industrial age.

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