Can the Offshore Oil Industry Improve its Culture of Workplace Safety?

Workplace safety must always be taken seriouslyA newly released report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) is calling on the offshore oil industry to adopt a culture of workplace safety. An article published by WWLTV (a CBS-affiliate based in New Orleans) recently discussed the details of this report.

NASEM is a nonprofit dedicated to providing expert advice and education to organizations pursuing science, engineering and medicine.

According to NASEM, the oil industry’s ‘safety culture’ overhaul could run into some difficulties. Companies have different internal issues and views on workplace safety. For example, workplace safety involves communicating with workers effectively, but for some companies this may be more difficult than for others.

The offshore oil industry is made up of many smaller contractors (who represent larger companies), some of whom employ workers not proficient in the same language as their supervisors. In other words, workers come from across the globe. While this is not bad, companies need to have ways to address communication problems between workers and rig supervisors.

Due to being a fragmented industry made up of thousands of different players, the offshore oil industry lacks uniform language on what constitutes ‘workplace safety’. Even at individual drilling sites, different organizations and companies working together may lack a common idea of what constitutes workplace safety. There is no consistency.

The offshore oil industry also lacks transparency, making it difficult for regulators and the public to hold unsafe regulators accountable for neglecting safety. Inspection records and data on accidents or near-misses may be provided to the public to ensure accountability.

Can A New Offshore Safety Organization Create a Safer Workplace?

NASEM suggests the offshore oil industry should use an ‘independent organization’ dedicated to workplace safety and environmental protection. This organization must have independence from the oil industry as to avoid a conflict of interest in carrying out its goals.

For example, the Center for Offshore Safety was created by the American Petroleum Institute, and may not be independent enough to carry out its duties. NASEM suggests more federal oversight, transparency and an independent safety organization to improve the culture of workplace safety.

The Lafayette personal injury attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat can help offshore workers who have been injured by negligent companies.


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