Better standards needed in oil industry

The Denver Post

The oil and gas industry suffers the second-highest rate of fatalities of any industry in the nation, and yet Denver Post reporters uncovered in an extensive four-part series major gaps in regulation of safety standards.

These dangerous jobs, whether it’s drilling, fracking or monitoring high-pressure systems, clearly need better reporting requirements for accidents and an entity capable of scrutinizing those reports and making recommendations or even demanding changes.

Federal safety regulators are using “general safety” guidelines for the industry instead of more specific rules that protect workers in other industries, like mining.

We would argue that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration should be the agency policing safety, but sometimes a federal agency is incapable of providing the same oversight that a state might employ to protect its residents.

Roughnecks are putting their lives on the line. They often work long hours, far from home, in unbearably hot or cold conditions.

Those workers who are injured have the protection of worker’s compensation, and many sue and win when there is clear negligence, but those solutions don’t heal broken lives or replace lost family members. Better to deal with the problems, out in the open, to get the loss of life down to zero.