OSHA implements new rules to protect rig workers

Feb 5, 2013

New rules from Wyoming’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, require workers to wear flame-resistant clothing near wellbore holes, and require emergency shut-down devices on diesel engines used on drill rigs.

OSHA’s John Ysebaert says flame-resistant clothing has made a big difference for worker’s safety during two recent incidents. One was a fire at the Sinclair Oil refinery.

“There were injuries, but it absolutely saved lives and … reduced those injuries,”Ysebaert said.

He says Wyoming is the first state in the U.S. to implement this type of rule.

Ysebaert adds that some companies already required their workers to wear flame-resistant clothing, but outside contract workers and delivery people were sometimes exempt. The new rule would apply to everyone within 75 feet of a wellbore.