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Top Safety Measures to Look for In A Potential Oilfield Employer

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Amidst falling oil prices, thousands of oilfield workers in Texas and New Mexico have found themselves without a job.

While the outlook remains grim, the Permian Basin is starting to show some signs of life as lockdowns ease and demand returns. That means many of these laid-off workers will be re-entering the job market in the hopes of finding new employment.

But as oilfields reopen, drillers looking to recoup the billions of dollars lost during the COVID shutdowns are likely to overlook their employees’ well-being and safety. As idled workers search for new employers, they must stay alert for any indication that a prospective employer is cutting corners and ignoring vital safety regulations in their race to drill before prices begin to trend downward again.

What to Look for When Searching for a New Job in the Oilfield

Has the Drilling Company Posted Safety Rules at the Job Site?

Oilfield workers are seven times more likely to die on the job compared to workers in other industries. While oil and natural gas drillers can’t eliminate every hazard, companies can take steps to mitigate the risks their employees face daily.
The failure to post rules and procedures at the job site is a red flag that the oilfield company doesn’t take safety seriously. Emergency exits and equipment, including fire extinguishers, should also be marked with signs that are visible from a distance. Any sign or safety notice that has begun to fade should be refurbished or replaced right away.

Are Workers Using the Appropriate Protective Gear?

Oilfield workers face a severe risk of injury or death in the event of a fire, explosion, toxic exposure, or other accident. For that reason, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that all oilfield workers have access to flame retardant clothing, hardhats, and hearing and eye protection.

If oilfield workers aren’t using appropriate PPE, it’s safe to assume the company is prioritizing the health or well-being of their employees.

Are Vehicles Properly Maintained and Driven by Qualified Drivers

Motor vehicle-related deaths are the leading cause of fatalities in the oil and gas extraction industry. Oilfield workers have been injured or killed while traveling between worksites on dangerous rural roads, or after being hit or run over while on the job. Many oilfield truck drivers are inexperienced, and because they often work excessively long shifts, they’re also more likely to cause fatigue-related accidents.

All oilfield vehicles should be well-maintained and driven by experienced and fully rested drivers. Any sign of reckless or fatigued driving should be a cause for concern. At a minimum, oilfield employers should be monitoring their drivers’ behavior and ensuring they have adequate time for breaks and rest between shifts. The most safety-conscious oilfield companies will install fatigue monitoring software in their vehicles to track the number of times a driver speeds, swerves, or slams on their brakes.

Is the Jobsite Maintained in Safe Condition?

Oilfields are home to heavy equipment, volatile chemicals, and poisonous gases that can easily trigger a deadly accident or explosion. While it’s not possible to keep an oilfield spotless, hazards are more likely to go unnoticed on a disorganized worksite.

All oilfield equipment should appear well-maintained and in good working order.  Any dangerous or flammable chemicals should be stored in accordance with OSHA regulations, and any spills or leaks should be quickly contained.

Has the Oil Company Instituted Proper Training and Safety Procedures?

Every worker on an oilfield needs proper training to do their jobs safely and recognize when something has gone wrong.
A prospective employer should be willing to discuss training protocols and procedures during the interview process. If they hedge or seem evasive, there’s a good chance they’re skimping on training.

Is the Oilfield Violating Safety Regulations?

Oilfield workers are more likely to be hurt or killed on the job when vital safety regulations are ignored.  While a drilling company probably won’t discuss violations during the interview process, prospective employees can search the OSHA database to learn if the company has ever been cited for workplace safety violations.

A history of violations – especially repeat offenses – is a sure sign of a careless safety culture.

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If you or someone you love were hurt in an oilfield accident or explosion, our attorneys can help. Please call 1-888-603-3636, use the Chat Form on our website, or send us a confidential email through our Contact Us Form by Clicking Here.

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