OSHA Oilfield Safety Program ‘Voluntary’

Mike Elk

In response to high oilfield fatalty rates, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has introduced a new plan aimed at promoting safety on oil fields. The only hitch? It's voluntary. From CBS7 in Midland, Texas: In 2012, there were 40 oil-field fatalities in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana alone, which is considered Region 6. That’s an increase of 7 deaths from 2011. OSHA wants to change that with a new Stand-Down plan. Employers can voluntarily choose to take time out of their workday to stop work and educate employees and managers on-site. But it's voluntary, with no mandate to participate. The "Stand Down" program, which runs through February 28, was launched in partnership with STEPS, a volunteer safety organization founded by OSHA and the oil and gas industry.

Mike Elk wrote for In These Times and its labor blog, Working In These Times, from 2010 to 2014. He is currently a labor reporter at Politico.
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