New Report Shows Industry’s Impressive Progress on Safety

Well service safety statistics collected by the Energy Workforce & Technology Council shows dramatic improvement in worker safety since the data was first gathered in 1994. Lost time accident (LTA) frequencies have fallen 94% over the 26-year period, and OHSA recordable incidents fell by 88%.

“The industry has done an admirable job of improving safety,” said Council CEO Leslie Beyer. “The total recordable incident rate fell by 31% in 2020 to the lowest level ever recorded. Continuing to track, set new goals and managing towards those goals will enable well service companies to achieve even higher levels of employee health and safety.”

As would be expected given the pandemic-driven drop in demand and production, hours worked fell to their lowest point since 2016. Well-servicing businesses reported 40.4 million hours worked, down from 67.5 million in 2019, and 75.2 million in 2018. Amid the oil price war of 2014-16, hours worked hit a low of 35.6 million in 2016.

The 2020 data show that floorhands were the most likely to be injured during rig jobs, accounting for 31.7% of accidents. Floorhands and derrickmen together comprised 42% of accidents.

The most common incidents were “struck by” and “caught between,” which together to totaled 59.5% of all well-service safety incidents.

“Companies wanting to make the most impact with their safety program should look at these areas as a place of emphasis,” Beyer said. “This is one of the largest contributors to accidents in our business.”

Fingers, hands and wrists were most vulnerable, accounting for 31.6% of injuries in 2020.

This voluntary statistical program was begun by the Association of Energy Service Companies and will continue to be run by the Council. More than 100 well servicing rig companies reported their safety statistics and the details involved in their accident investigations.

“This report can help companies evaluate their safety programs and benchmark themselves to the rest of the industry,” Beyer said. “It’s important that we pay attention to the leading indicators as we drive towards a zero-incident environment in the workplace.”

The Council is involved with many safety initiatives, including STEP groups, NORA/NIOSH studies, and the American Petroleum Institute and will be a resource in helping members make the industry as safe as possible for workers.

“It takes management support, understanding, funding and buy-in for safety to move from a program to a living commitment,” Beyer said. “As activity ramps up in the coming months, companies must maintain emphasis on training employees, no matter their position or experience.”

The Council is committed to helping members improve safety by providing information and resources, working with regulators and customers, and assisting in developing and upgrading safety programs. The industry’s shared goal is a safe working environment and culture within each company.

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