Oklahoma Oil and Gas Industry Prepare for Safety Standown

Caleb Kimpel

Officials from Oklahoma oil and gas companies were asked to attend a meeting this morning in Oklahoma City to discuss workplace safety, and “stand down” at jobsites while workers and supervisors spend time inspecting sites and reviewing safety standards.

The voluntary stand down was requested by David Bates, the area director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Soon after the request was made, an industry safety group, the Mid-Continent  Exploration and Safety Network requested its members and any others to join in the stand down initiative. The safety stand down comes as the oil and gas industry in Oklahoma has seen nine deaths and a drilling rig fire resulting in three injuries since the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1.

“This is a significant rise in the number of deaths in this industry in our state as compared to the last few years,” Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Mid-Continent Exploration & Production Safety Network officials said in a statement.

The half day event at the Cox Center in Oklahoma’s capital included oil and natural gas exploration, production and contracting companies.The goal of the meeting is to focus on reducing safety incidents on well sites and across oil field operations.

“We consider safety the highest priority for Devon employees and also for the service companies and contractors who work for us,” Devon Energy Corp. spokesman Chip Minty told the Daily Oklahoman. “If you can’t do it safely then don’t do it.

“That’s an important message to get across.”

The following is a list of the oilfield safety incidents that occurred in Oklahoma since Oct 1, 2011 and resulted in deaths or at least three injuries:


  • Oct. 13 – Jackson County

A derrick man lost control of a stand of pipe, which fell into the derrick, striking it and the traveling block. The man’s head was struck when the pipe and traveling block recoiled back to the derrick board. The derrick man was not using rope to guide the stand of pipe, instead handling the stand of pipe by hand.


  • Nov. 7 – Osage County

  A floor hand was killed when the traveling block fell to the rig floor. The retaining device  that malfunctioned was the wrong size for the wire rope being used and not installed properly.


  • Nov 11 – Dewey County

An overturned forklift crushed an employee while workers attempted to move a sand bin with two forklifts in tandem. The victim was not wearing a seat belt.


  • Dec. 14 – Woods County

A truck driver for a poly pipe company was struck by a coil of poly pipe when it was unstrapped. He had failed to stand clear of danger zone before removing strap.


  • Jan. 20 – Logan County

A crude well kicked during drilling and fire engulfed a drilling rig, sending three workers to the hospital with burns. The blowout preventer actuator was located under the rig floor instead of where it could be activated during evacuation.


  • Feb. 3 – Woodward County

An A-leg fell while being unloaded from a truck. There was a failure of communication between the driver and the unloading crew who worked for different companies. The transportation straps had been removed, but the unloading crew were not aware.


  • April 2 – Alfalfa County

An electrical contractor grabbed a powered line with his hand, thinking it was de-energized.


  • April 18 – Woods County

A high pressure hose knocked a water contractor into the water pit where he drowned. He had not secured the hose completely before opening a valve. He was working alone.


  • April 21 – Woods County

A derrick hand fell from the derrick board when he didn’t connect to the restraint after climbing the derrick.


  • April 24 – Oklahoma County

 The victim was under the air hoist platform (frog) during lifting when a chain unhooked causing the platform to fall.

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