Taking Action to Improve Onshore Safety

onshore drilling

Safety is a core value for the natural gas and oil industry, which works tirelessly to improve safety in the workplace through ongoing research, standards development, training, information sharing and advocacy. 

These efforts are paying off. But while the U.S. onshore E&P industry fatality rate has declined over the years, and the injury and illness rate remains well below the national average for all private sectors, even one incident is too many. 

The goal is zero incidents and the industry remains committed to continuous improvement – the latest evidence of which can be seen in the Onshore Safety Alliance (OSA). 

OSA is an industry coalition currently made up of 22 companies and six trade associations representing operators, drilling contractors and well servicing companies. It has been formed to drive improvements in the safety performance of onshore upstream operations and, in that effort, is developing a voluntary industry program that seeks to drive step-change to eliminate serious injury and fatality events in U.S. onshore E&P operations. 

Slated to launch in early 2021, the program could not only improve operational performance but serve to encourage operators to use the same minimum safety standards to build consistency across operations – and ultimately help the industry fill gaps, support its license to operate, and establish long-term sustainability through industry cycles. 

The OSA program is designed to be easy to implement for a range of companies who may be at different points on their internal safety journeys. It will also seek to provide implementation resources, peer-to-peer support and industry learning. 

The OSA wants to ensure that it develops a program that provides value add to the industry and has sought perspectives from a wide range of industry companies, allowing time for these companies to come together, debate and reach consensus on the right approach.

Onshore Safety Alliance Guiding Principles

  • We are an industry committed to the elimination of fatalities and life-altering events.
  • We will use and make recommendations for the development of best practices that drive consistency for safe planning and execution of work.
  • We will partner together as operators, contractors, and suppliers to learn and share best practices to drive collective industry improvement in both personal and process safety. 
  • We will create a work environment where everyone feels accountable for their safety and the safety of others.

“All upstream companies are given the opportunity to participate in the building and decision-making elements of OSA, which not only helps build a sense of ownership but also ensures the support and active involvement of stakeholders,” said J.P. Srock, Vice President Health and Safety of HiCrush Inc. and a member of the OSA Program Executive Steering Committee. “It’s rewarding to see these companies working together towards a common vision, and the willingness to share and collaborate to achieve a safer work environment for the men and women of our industry.”  

The program will be available to any industry company or organization involved in U.S. onshore upstream E&P activities including operators, contractors and service providers, and a company would not need to be a member of a trade association to join the program. No dues or fees will be required to participate. 

Wide industry support and participation in an onshore safety program is critical to its success. If you are interested in participating in or learning more about the OSA, please contact the American Petroleum Institute. 

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