You've most likely heard of The National Institute for Occupational
Safety and Health, better known by its acronym
NIOSH. You may even possess one or more pieces of safety gear labeled to show
compliance with a NIOSH standard. But, do we really understand who they
are and what they do? How does this division of the US Center for Disease
Control (CDC) improve worker safety on the Bakken?
NIOSH strives to fulfill their mission which is simply stated yet complex
To develop new knowledge in the field of occupational safety and health
and to transfer that knowledge into practice (NIOSH).
NIOSH researchers analyze accident and fatality data, and conduct direct
research such as surveys, to understand how workers are injured and killed
on the job. Once the causes are known, NIOSH develops strategies to prevent
future harmful incidents.
Other agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) and the US Bureau of Mines, work in partnership with NIOSH to educate
and train America's workforce. NIOSH is not a regulatory or enforcement
agency. Rather, NIOSH standards - once incorporated into OSHA rules -
become enforceable by that agency (OSHA).
The Oil and Gas Extraction Safety and Health Program (Oil & Gas) is one of NIOSH's Sector Programs. One of the emerging issues they've
identified promises to improve worker safety on the Bakken:
There is a need to quantify the safety and health hazards associated with
hydraulic fracturing (NIOSH).
It's important to note that NIOSH researchers are not starting from
scratch - they already have data and programs in place for the oil and
gas industry overall to build upon. One of their resources is the Fatalities
in Oil and Gas Extraction (FOG) database. This database contains detailed
information regarding fatal injuries in the oil and gas industry, including
those on the Bakken. NIOSH sums up how this data helps improve oil field
safety in the
FOG data are used to inform NIOSH, industry, and other stakeholder groups,
and guide interventions that will prevent future loss of life in this
timeline of NIOSH programs and activities shows how they use data to develop training
and educational products to reduce injuries. Analysts study past incidents
to predict and prevent future mishaps.
The most recent programs target the top identified causes of oil and gas
worker injuries and fatalities. Best practices for motor vehicles, preventing fires &
explosions, chemical exposures, and fall prevention are among their most
current Oil & Gas projects.
Given the multitude of hazards faced by workers on the Bakken, it's
good to know that NIOSH is working to reduce oil field worker injury.
Our firm can help you understand the complex standards and rules that exist for
If you or someone you know suffered a work-related injury and need help
navigating the recovery process, please