Oil and Gas Safety Advisor

Oil and Gas Safety Advisor

Providing Analysis on the Latest in Oil & Gas Safety Developments

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION ISSUES ORDER REQUIRING STRICTER SAFETY STANDARDS ON THE TRANSPORT OF CRUDE OIL BY RAIL

Posted in Oil & Gas Pipeline Transmission, Oil & Gas Safety, Pipeline Safety

On February 25, 2014, the New York Times published an article regarding the U.S. Department of Transportation’s recent announcement that orders shippers to correctly label and test crude oil that comes from the Bakken region before loading this product onto freight trains. Continue Reading

CRUDE OIL SPILLED BY TRAINS AT AN ALL TIME HIGH

Posted in Oil & Gas Pipeline Transmission, Oil & Gas Safety, Uncategorized

Two major train derailments in 2013 were the leading cause of the significant amount of crude oil spilled by trains in the United States in 2013.  The volume of crude oil spilled exceeded totals for the previous 40 years and has some asking if this new emerging form of transportation for crude oil is worth it.

Continue Reading

OIL RAIL ACCIDENTS POINT TO PUBLIC SAFETY CONCERNS

Posted in Oil & Gas Pipeline Transmission, Oil & Gas Safety

On January 26, 2014, the Washington Times published an article regarding the growing number of oil rail accidents that have occurred throughout North America in recent years. These accidents pose a serious threat to public safety and point to a growing concern with the transportation of oil by rail throughout the country. Continue Reading

Earthquakes in Texas call into question safety of oil and gas drilling

Posted in Drilling Safety, Oil & Gas Production Environmental Risks, Oil & Gas Safety

Summary

On January 11, 2014, CBS News released a news story regarding the recent increase in earthquakes seen in the small town of Azle, Texas. Since November 2013 alone, the Barnett Shale area where Azle is located has recorded 32 earthquakes, with the strongest earthquake measuring a magnitude of 3.7. Continue Reading

Texas Railroad Commission to Hire Seismologist

Posted in Fracking Adverse Consequences, Oil & Gas Production Environmental Risks

On January 7, 2014 the Texas Railroad Commission announced that it will proceed with hiring a seismologist to investigate a rash of recent earthquakes near the Barnett Shale.  The announcement follows a town hall meeting held by the Texas Railroad Commission with residents of the areas affected by the earthquakes.  Continue Reading

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Releases 2012 Data on Oil & Gas Industry Fatalities

Posted in Drilling Safety, Oil & Gas Safety, Oil Rig Safety

Summary

BOLPBlogEntry1On August 22, 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published data on oil- and-gas-related work fatalities that occurred in the United States in 2012. According to the data, 25 total fatal injuries happened in the oil and gas extraction industry.  Other key findings included:

  • 114 total fatal injuries occurred in the support activities for mining industry, which included drilling oil and gas wells, in addition to support activities for oil and gas operations.
  • 21 total fatal injuries took place in the machinery manufacturing industry, which included mining and oil and gas field machinery manufacturing, and oil and gas field machinery and equipment manufacturing.

Data on oil and gas extraction fatalities in the United States

Of the 25 fatal injuries that occurred in the oil and gas extraction industry:

  • Eight of these were due to transportation incidents;
  • Six were due to fires and explosions;
  • Five were due to falls, slips and trips, and
  • Four were due to contact with objects and equipment.
From http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bernice_1_and_2_wells_-_Arnegard_North_Dakota_-_2013-07-04.jpg

From http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bernice_1_and_2_wells_-_Arnegard_North_Dakota_-_2013-07-04.jpg

Data on fatalities in support activities for oil and gas extraction in the United States

Of the 114 fatal injuries that occurred in the support activities for mining industry:

  • 39 of these occurred in the drilling oil and gas wells subsector; and
  • 74 occurred in the support activities for oil and gas operations subsector.

Of the 39 fatal injuries that occurred in the drilling oil and gas wells subsector:

  • 10 were due to transportation incidents;
  • Six were due to fires and explosions;
  • Eight were due to falls, slips and trips;
  • Three were due to exposure to harmful substances or environments; and
  • 10 were due to contact with objects and equipment.

Of the 74 fatal injuries that occurred in the support activities for oil and gas operations subsector:

  • 44 of these were due to transportation incidents;
  • 11 were due to fires and explosions;
  • Five were due to falls, slips and trips;
  • Three were due to exposure to harmful substances or chemicals; and
  • 10 were due to contact with objects and equipment.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provided this chart in their most recent data regarding fatal occupational injuries. The chart delineates the number of fatalities by industry and event.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provided this chart in their most recent data regarding fatal occupational injuries. The chart delineates the number of fatalities by industry and event.

Data on oil and gas manufacturing fatalities in the United States

Of the 21 total fatal injuries that occurred in the machinery manufacturing industry:

  • 4 of these occurred in mining and oil and gas field machinery manufacturing subsector.
    • The data specified that one of these incidents was due to violence and other injuries by persons or animals.

 BOLPBlogEntry4

Culture Change within Oil & Gas Industry as a Result of Deepwater Horizon Disaster

Posted in Drilling Safety, Offshore Drilling Safety, Oil Rig Safety

Summary

On September 30, 2013, the Financial Times published an article regarding the significant culture change brought to the oil and gas industry by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Specifically, the tragedy brought greater attention to the need for oil & gas companies to address safety issues within the offshore oil industry. The presidential investigation report on the BP oil spill, issued in January 2011, reiterated that the industry must be better prepared to deal with the significant risks associated with “deep water energy exploration and production”.

 From commons.wikimedia.org (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Offshore_oil_rig.jpg) (photoeverywhere.co.uk attribution required for all free use)

From commons.wikimedia.org (photoeverywhere.co.uk attribution required for all free use)

Deepwater Horizon Disaster

The Deepwater Horizon tragedy that took place in 2010 claimed the lives of 11 men and resulted in the largest accidental offshore oil spill in history. The companies involved included British Petroleum (BP), Halliburton, and Transocean. Following the incident, the President commissioned an investigation to assess the causes of the oil spill. One of the main causes found was BP and Transocean’s misinterpretation of a key test. This in turn, reiterated the oil and gas industry’s failure in critical safety measures.

Proliferation of offshore drilling

In spite of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, the number of offshore rigs has actually increased in recent years, pointing to the need for greater safety measures in the offshore oil industry. There are currently 63 offshore rigs in operation in the Gulf of Mexico, which is a record high. There were 55 offshore rigs in operation prior to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

HorizonBlogEntry2

Improvements in safety within the oil & gas industry

Although the amount of offshore drilling has increased, it appears that the oil & gas industry has learned from the Deepwater Horizon tragedy and is more cognizant of necessary safety measures. According to the article, many industry leaders accept that the accident made them more aware of important safety measures and policies that need to be implemented.

Positive safety changes taken by large oil & gas companies include improvements in equipment that can be used to address spills and employment of drilling contractors that use the latest and most up-to-date gear. Furthermore, leading companies in the oil & gas industry are also spending more money on the health and safety of their staff. Indeed, health, safety and environment managers are now the most sought-after employees by the oil & gas industry – after engineering positions.

Fatality rates in the oil & gas industry

While the safety culture within the oil & gas industry seems to be changing for the better, it is important to understand that this is still one of the most dangerous occupational industries in the labor market. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the worker death toll was 138 in 2012 alone, a number that more than doubled from the death toll of 68 in 2009. Although the fatality rate has dropped from 2003 to 2012, the death toll has increased because the oil & gas industry is now employing a larger number of people.