NIOSH Seeks Comments on Updated NORA for Oil & Gas Extraction

One objective listed in it concerns motor vehicle crashes, which accounted for 44 percent of all fatal injuries in the industry during 2016, according to BLS. Actions under this objective include identifying and promoting strategies to increase seat belt use, strategies to improve driver performance, and strategies to reduce driver fatigue and driver distraction.

NIOSH has published a draft National Occupational Research Agenda for Oil and Gas Extraction and seeks public comments on the document. The draft NORA was published July 26 in the Federal Register and is available in the docket at https://www.regulations.gov; enter CDC-2018-0065 in the search field to access it.

Comments, either electronic or written, must be submitted by Sept. 24, 2018.

The draft agenda is intended to identify the research, information, and actions that are needed most urgently to prevent injuries and illnesses in the oil and gas extraction sector, and to guide or promote high-priority research on a national level, whether by government, higher education, or the private sector.

It lists four objectives:

  • Reduce motor vehicle injuries and deaths. The most current data from BLS indicates motor vehicle crashes accounted for 44 percent of all fatal injuries in the industry during 2016, it says. Actions under this objective include identifying and promoting strategies to increase seat belt use in this industry, strategies to improve driver performance (such as in-vehicle technology and driver coaching), and strategies to reduce driver fatigue and driver distraction.
  • Reduce non-vehicle injuries and fatalities. The agenda states that, during 2003-2016, a total of 1,485 oil and gas extraction workers died on the job, resulting in an annual fatality rate more than six times higher than the rate among all U.S. workers, according to BLS. The leading causes of non-vehicle fatalities were contact with objects and equipment, fires and explosions, exposures to harmful substances/environments, and falls. Actions to reduce these include improved training and communication resources, increased use of gas monitors, better training of workers to respond appropriately to monitoring of flammable gases, and increasing the use of root cause analysis of injuries and near misses.
  • Reduce hazardous exposures and their health effects. Workers in the industry can be exposed to respirable crystalline silica and to hydrocarbon gases and vapors during tank gauging. Actions to reduce these include developing and implementing controls for "known and well-characterized exposures" in the industry, preventing noise-induced hearing loss among workers, and developing tools to better track work exposure history and long-term health impacts.
  • Promote strategies to improve workers' safety and health. Actions for this objective include identifying and promoting the most effective leading indicators for the industry, promoting the critical elements of safety management at multi-employer sites, and promoting communication products that describe the business case for safety.

To comments, visit the online document or mail written comments to: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH Docket Office, 1090 Tusculum Avenue, MS C-34, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226-1998.

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