Tips for Improving Worker Safety in the Oil and Gas Industry

Tips for Improving Worker Safety in the Oil and Gas Industry

Workers in the oil and gas industry face many risks. The fatality rate in this industry is seven times higher than any other, but the good news is that employers are starting to take action. They are implementing new precautions and procedures for injury prevention that improve safety on the job and protect the experts risking their lives to keep so many other industries in America running. This article will offer some additional tips for ensuring worker safety in today’s oilfields.

1. Maintain Equipment

Extracting oil and natural gas requires complex machinery that must be kept in excellent condition to avoid unnecessary hazards. Purchasing high-quality, specialized equipment and keeping it well-maintained helps to prevent unnecessary injuries, as does installing safety features. Dynatect’s cable tracks and drag chains, for example, can be custom-fabricated for oil and gas industry clients to meet industry specifications, preventing unnecessary safety hazards.

Many of the types of equipment found on oilfields can be outfitted with safety covers and guarding, as well. These products can both protect workers from injuries caused by machinery while it’s in operation and protect the equipment from unnecessary wear, reducing maintenance needs. That said, all equipment should be maintained according to a predetermined schedule to ensure that it remains in safe operational condition.

2. Reduce Slips, Trips, and Falls

Equipment-related accidents aren’t the only hazard to workers on oilfields and off-shore rigs. They are also more likely than other industry experts to experience slip, trip, and fall injuries because they are surrounded by oil and often water, as well. Employers can help to prevent slips and falls by installing slip-proof surfaces, maintaining dry conditions, and ensuring that the job sites are well-lit. Workers should also be required to wear personal protective equipment such as slip-proof boots.

Reducing trip-and-fall injuries is largely a matter of keeping the job site cleaned up and all cables, hoses, and other tripping hazards out of workers’ paths. Employers should provide safety training to ensure that workers understand the importance of keeping all pathways and floors clear of unnecessary items both in work areas and in shelters.

3. Encourage a Safety-First Jobsite Culture

In this dangerous industry, ensuring worker safety should be a top priority for everyone on a job site, whether it’s off-shore or out in the oilfields. Everyone from supervisors and managers to shift workers should be on alert for potential hazards. There are rules and regulations in place at these job sites for a reason, and everyone should be committed to following them. That means people in leadership positions must serve as an example and set a standard for safety on the job by following all regulations to a T.

Encouraging a safety-first job site culture also means that workers should be encouraged to speak up if they notice problems that could impact their safety. Those problems could include things like poorly maintained machines or they could involve other employees taking unnecessary risks that violate the company’s safety regulations. Workers should feel comfortable with reporting safety issues to their supervisors, and supervisors should take prompt action to address the problem and prevent it from escalating.

4. Provide Regular Safety Training

Employers can’t just provide safety training as part of each worker’s onboarding process and then forget about it. Regular training sessions help to ensure that everyone is on the same page by reminding employees of what’s important and promoting unity of purpose among the workforce. Don’t stop providing safety training because it feels repetitive. These sessions will always offer an important way to build trust and enhance safety.

The best way to keep workers involved is to develop a personal approach to conducting safety training. Give workers time to get to know the other people on their shift and build personal connections in the context of safety training. That way, they’ll feel more responsible for protecting each other and will be more likely to speak up if they notice potential hazards.

5. Pay Attention to Workers’ Mental Health

Working on an oil rig or in the oilfield can be a mentally and emotionally taxing job. Employees often spend days, weeks, or even months away from their families, which can lead to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. These kinds of problems can quickly escalate into a dangerous work environment that jeopardizes everyone’s occupational health.


Employers have an obligation to their workers to provide a safe environment. Depression and other mental health issues can increase the chances of accidents, so supervisors should take mental health seriously. Oilfield workers need time off to spend time with family, and when they’re on the job site, they should feel like their concerns are taken seriously. If mental health issues begin adversely affecting one or more people’s performance by causing them to become careless or stop obeying the rules, those issues must also be addressed quickly and effectively.

6. Analyze Health and Safety Data

Collecting data about worker health and safety is a great way to ensure that employers have a clear understanding of potential risks. Remember that small hazards can escalate into bigger issues quickly. Identifying them before that happens can help to protect workers and reduce unnecessary risks.

Routine analysis of worker health and safety data can also be helpful in evaluating the effectiveness of current workplace safety plans. If it seems like things are trending in the wrong direction, that means it’s time for supervisors to step in. Sometimes, it’s a simple matter of offering added safety training. In others, that might require replacing illegible signing, adding color-coded labels to communicate key information to workers, or conducting additional safety checks.

Worker Safety Should Always Be a Top Priority

Worker safety should be a top priority across all industries. Challenging work environments like offshore oil rigs and remote oilfields can pose safety hazards not seen in other conditions, so employers and supervisors need to stay on guard against potential risks. They should provide ongoing training for employees, encourage a culture of transparency and trust, and take all workers’ concerns seriously.