Wyoming OSHA plans public hearing for new safety rules

Date Posted
Caleb Kimpel

The Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration is accepting public comments over proposed rules changes including one that would require employees to wear flame-resistant clothing on and around a well being drilled.

The new rules also include a requirement that diesel engines on and around a drilling rig have an emergency shut-down device to prevent fire.

According to Wyoming OSHA, “These practices and policies have already been in place and applied in the Oil and Gas Industry with the majority of employers throughout the state.”

The safety of Wyoming workers, especially in the rapidly growing oil and gas industry, has received a lot of attention in the state. The state’s former epidemiologist, Dr. Timothy Ryan, decried the legislature’s inactivity on worker safety when he tendered his resignation earlier in the year, while Gov. Matt Mead has continued a push for industry leaders to prioritize the well-being of their workers.

The changes would require the “conspicuous display” of signs at entrances to well locations stating “Flame Resistant Clothing (FRC) is required to be worn”.

Most in the industry see the rules change as a reflection of what is already going on in the field.

“What they were looking at was bringing things up to date with where the standards are,” Bruce Hinchey, president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming told the Wyoming Business Report.

But John Robitaille, vice president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming,  told the Casper Star-Tribune, “Some companies, feel a hazard assessment should be done, and if the assessment deems you put on flame-resistant clothing, you put on flame-resistant clothing.”

Further proposed changes to Wyoming OSHA rules include a change to the hazard communication standard to align the state rules with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

Wyoming OSHA will accept comments, data or arguments through Wednesday, September 26, to be presented at the public hearing on October 5. The hearing will be held at 9 AM at the Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Bldg, Hearing Room #129, 2211 King Boulevard in Casper.

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