OSHA, NIOSH, National STEPS Network Sign Alliance

The agencies' leaders signed it during the 2014 OSHA Oil & Gas Safety and Health Conference taking place this week in Houston.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels signed a two-year alliance Dec. 2 with the National Service, Transmission, Exploration & Production Safety Network and NIOSH that aims to prevent injuries, illnesses, and deaths among workers in the oil and gas exploration and production sector. Michaels signed it prior to his keynote speech at the 2014 Oil & Gas Safety and Health Conference in Houston, where he and NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard are among the speakers, as they were during the previous conference in this series two years ago.

OSHA reported that more than 2,100 people are attending this year's conference – "industry representatives, safety and health organizations, and educators gathered to collaborate on ways to improve safety in the oil and gas industry."

"Too many oil and gas industry workers are being hurt or killed on the job," Michaels said, echoing his message from the 2012 event. "These tragedies are preventable, and we need to work together to address hazards, prevent injuries and save lives."

OSHA notes that 112 workers in this industry died in 2013, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, and most fatalities occurred among workers who had worked less than one year on the job. Motor vehicle crashes, fires, explosions, electrocution, and exposure to respirable silica are major hazards.

The alliance participants will develop fact sheets and videos on the leading causes of fatalities in oil and gas exploration and production, provide OSHA materials and training resources for employers and workers, and support oil and gas safety stand-downs.

The National STEPS Network is a volunteer organization that includes industry operators and contractors, industry associations, OSHA and NIOSH representatives, and educational institutions.

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