While a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed a decrease in injuries and illnesses, oil and gas companies continue to face the challenge of maintaining employee health and safety while increasing production.
Occupational injuries and illnesses dropped to an incident rate of 3.3 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers, according to the BLS. This sustains a downward trend in workplace incidents driven by decreases in the manufacturing, retail trade and utilities industries.
"Strong recordkeeping regarding incidents in the workplace could help firms recognize areas of improvement that could help save lives in the future."
While OSHA noted a drop in these sectors, the report said all other private industry sectors did not see significant changes.
As oil and gas companies work to minimize the number of injuries and illnesses among employees, companies should make sure to keep up with reporting requirements established by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Strong recordkeeping regarding incidents in the workplace could help firms recognize areas of improvement that could help save lives in the future.
New OSHA recordkeeping rules
In November 2013, OSHA proposed a new recordkeeping rule designed to increase access to workplace injury and illness data and reduce the number of incidents. OSHA officials said the proposal is designed to change how companies report incident records to OSHA, rather than add on new recordkeeping requirements.
In a September update by OSHA, the agency also supported a provision that would require employers to contact OSHA if there is a workplace fatality or an employee is hospitalized for a work-related hospitalization, amputation or eye loss.
"Hospitalizations and amputations are sentinel events, indicating that serious hazards are likely to be present at a workplace and that an intervention is warranted to protect the other workers at the establishment," said David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA.
With these stricter regulations, oil and gas employers should consider how to improve their capacity to report and keep records of worker injuries and illnesses.
Here are ways to help with compliance with these proposed recordkeeping rules:
- Equip workers with industrial communications equipment. Since workers are often spread throughout the field and off it, equipment for communications is integral to ensure incidents are reported quickly in case employees need medical attention.
- Utilize software for recordkeeping. While some employers are choosing to report workplace accidents on paper, the new electronic reporting rules may necessitate software for easier recordkeeping. These solutions makes data easier to transfer and submit to OSHA and make sure it is accessible to both managers and staff.