OSHA Official Testifies before Senate Subcommittee about Worker Safety in Energy Production

June 11, 2010
Jordan Barab, deputy assistant secretary for OSHA, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, calling discussion of safety for energy workers a “necessary conversation.”

The issue of safety in the nation’s energy production industries “has most recently been brought to the public’s attention in the most tragic way possible, with deaths of 11 workers and injuries to 17 others as the result of the April 20th explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling platform,” Barab testified.

He noted the Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred even as OSHA continues to deal with the ramifications of the 2005 fire and explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery that killed 15 workers and injured more than 170 others, and as the agency helps its Washington State Plan partners investigate the April explosion at a Tesoro refinery that killed seven workers.

“What have we learned from these tragic events?” Barab asked. “Certainly we have learned that in our nation’s energy producing industry, the status quo is not working. In the past 4 months alone, at least 58 workers have died in explosions, fires and collapses at refineries, coal mines, an oil drilling rig and a natural-gas-fired power plant construction site.”

He noted that not all of these tragedies are within OSHA’s jurisdiction; the Deepwater Horizon was an offshore drilling facility, technically a “vessel” and not subject to OSHA requirements. Mine safety is within the purview of MSHA, OSHA’s sister agency. “Nevertheless,” he added, “the toll of worker deaths and injuries on the job is sounding an alarm about a major problem throughout the energy industries – a problem that OSHA must help address.”

“Secretary Hilda Solis’ vision for the Department of Labor is “good jobs for everyone,” Barab testified. “Good jobs are safe jobs, and we must do more to ensure that all of our nation’s workers, including those in the energy industries, can go home safely when their work is done.”

Sponsored Recommendations

ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS)

March 28, 2024
ISO 45001 certification – reduce your organizational risk and promote occupational health and safety (OHS) by working with SGS to achieve certification or migrate to the new standard...

Want to Verify your GHG Emissions Inventory?

March 28, 2024
With the increased focus on climate change, measuring your organization’s carbon footprint is an important first action step. Our Green House Gas (GHG) verification services provide...

Download Free ESG White Paper

March 28, 2024
The Rise and Challenges of ESG – Your Journey to Enhanced Sustainability, Brand and Investor Potential

Work Safety Tips: 5 Tactics to Build Employee Engagement for Workplace Safety

March 13, 2024
Employee safety engagement strategies have become increasingly key to fostering a safer workplace environment. But, how exactly do you encourage employee buy-in when it comes ...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!