Upstream Onshore Oil and Gas Fatalities: A Review of OSHA's Database and Strategic Direction for Reducing Fatal Incidents
- Charles K. Curlee (Marathon Oil Co.) | Steve J. Brouillard (ConocoPhillips) | Michael L. Marshall | Thomas Laird Knode (Halliburton Energy Services) | S. Lane Smith (ChevronTexaco)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE/EPA/DOE Exploration and Production Environmental Conference, 7-9 March, Galveston, Texas
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2005. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.4.2 SCADA, 4.3.4 Scale, 2.2.2 Perforating, 6.1.2 HSSE Reporting, 6.1 HSSE & Social Responsibility Management, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training
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According to the OSHA database for the period from 1997 through 2003, one fatality occurred every 10 days in the U.S. upstream (E&P) oil and gas industry.To determine trends and provide insights into the safety failures, as well as potential interventions to eliminate the high frequency of fatal incidents, the seven years of OSHA data were reviewed.This data encompasses over 250 fatalities from the four principal SIC categories that comprise the onshore upstream oil & gas exploration and production industry.Data were sorted initially by region, well drilling or field servicing, rig type, and event.Further analysis was conducted by a diverse team of industry professionals, including representatives from operating companies, well drilling and servicing companies, and industry trade associations.Particular focus was directed at accident type, equipment type and well site location in an attempt to identify causal factors from the limited incident descriptions contained in the OSHA database.
The resulting analysis showed nearly half of all fatalities (47%) resulted from "struck by" incidents; fires and explosions accounted for 16% while falls from heights accounted for another 14% of the fatalities. Fatality incident rates from year to year were strongly correlated to overall upstream industry activity level as represented by the U.S. rig count.
This fatality data review provides oil and gas industry operating managers, safety professionals, trade associations and others a road map for targeted improvement programs and priorities for reducing onshore oil field-related fatalities.
Each year the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) report.These reports indicate that the mining sector, which includes the oil and gas extraction subsector (i.e. all upstream E&P activities),typically experiences one of the highest fatality rates of all major industries (Table 1).In the most recent BLS report of 2003 data, this equated to 34.5 fatalities per 100,000 workers in the oil and gas extraction subsector1, or one fatality every 4.3 days.This fatality rate is over 8.5 times higher than the average for all industries within the US.
Table 1. Oil and Gas Extraction Fatality Number and Rates from BLS CFOI (1994-2003).
Using this information, the U.S. Department of Labor - Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reached out to the oil and gas extraction industry to work with them to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries. Industry responded and agreed to work with OSHA to address the need for improved safety performance.An Industry Review Team (IRT) was formed, consisting of a diverse group of professionals representing operating companies, drilling and well servicing companies, industry trade associations, as well as OSHA.
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