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Jan 24, 2013 11:25 AM by Melissa Canone

OSHA announces safety stand-down at oil and gas exploration sites

DALLAS - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in partnership with the National Service, Transmission, Exploration & Production Safety Network, more commonly known as STEPS, will sponsor a safety stand-down kickoff today through Feb. 28 to promote safety and health practices at oil and gas exploration and production sites in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

"This safety stand-down is an important effort to bring heightened safety and health awareness for workers in the oil and gas industry to identify and eliminate work-related hazards," said John Hermanson, OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas. "There is tremendous value in dedicating time during a workday to make a concerted effort to provide training."

Following today's STEPS stand-down kickoff, participating companies can choose stand-down training events to take place at their work sites during the monthlong event. Some employers have already voluntarily committed to conduct site inspections, document and eliminate hazards, and train workers at oil and gas sites during the stand-down. OSHA will provide training materials and assistance.

STEPS is a volunteer organization founded in 2003 in south Texas by OSHA and the oil and gas industry in an attempt to reduce injuries and fatalities. The organization has grown to include 17 independent networks serving 15 oil- and gas-producing states. Eight of the networks have signed formal alliances with OSHA.

Companies can complete a commitment form and obtain training tools to conduct job site inspections online through the OSHA Education Center at the University of Texas Arlington Web site at http://www.oshastanddown.org.

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with businesses, trade associations, unions, consulates, professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources and educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/alliances/index.html.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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