Edwin Drake, the“Father of the Petroleum Industry” was the first person to drill a commercial oil well in the United States. His drilling technology revolutionized how crude oil was produced and launched what we know today as the U.S. Petroleum industry. From its humble beginnings in Titusville, PA, the oil and gas industry today employs workers across all 50 U.S. states.
FF2930 impact gloves being worn at the first oil well ever drilled back in 1859. MCR Safety is transforming oil and gas PPE, some 160 years after that initial oil well was drilled.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 148,300 workers employed in the oil and gas extraction industries in the United States in December 2018. Preliminary numbers (with seasonal adjustments) for January and February of 2019 increased to 149,800 and then 150,600, respectively.
We’d like to spotlight the Who's Who working today in the most populated occupations across the modern oil and gas industry while also emphasizing the importance of safety. If you count yourself among those working as oil and gas contractors, no matter what occupation you’re in, we have the right PPE for you.
Top Occupations in Drilling and Production
Drilling and production work, referred to as “Upstream,” involves finding and producing crude oil and natural gas. Of the nearly 20 categories of occupations in the drilling and production sub-industry, the two with the highest concentration of workers are Construction Laborers and Extraction Occupations and Control and Valve Installers and Repairers.
Construction Laborers and Extraction Occupations
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists Construction and Extraction Occupations as one of the major occupation groups within the oil and gas industry. The most recent statistics from May 2017 indicate that 21,760 workers are employed in Upstream. The BLS has a breakdown of the wide variety of nearly 60 different jobs that these workers do, including service unit operators, pipefitters, derrick operators, and roustabouts. Helper, Laborer, and Construction Worker are among the job titles that people in this group are likely to have.
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Constructing an extraction site is a major part of oil and gas operations.
In addition to MCR Safety’s dedicated Oil and Gas Industry page, our Construction Industry page is an excellent resource for these workers. Click the image to learn more.
Control and Valve Installers and Repairers
In May 2017, 510 workers were listed as being employed as control and valve installers and repairers. These workers repair mechanical control devices, lubricate mechanical parts, and install electric meters. They are responsible for the installation, repair, and maintenance of regulating and controlling devices including electric meters, gas regulators, thermostats, and safety and flow valves. Control Valve Technician, Service Technician, and Valve Technician are three of the more prevalent job titles.
Valve installers and repairers are heavily employed across all oil and gas sectors.
Drilling Service Contractors
These contractors service drilling rigs to address problems and to ensure that they are working efficiently and safely. Removing the wellhead is a common service activity for drilling service contractors. Being struck by wrenches and hammers while removing bolts and fittings is a definite hazard for this activity.
Like all continually used equipment, oil wells often require servicing or maintenance on the surface or down-hole equipment to ensure that the well keeps performing efficiently. Be sure to check out OSHA’s oil and gas eTool for all the hazards these workers face. Click the below image to learn more.
Top Occupations in Pipeline Transportation and Storage
Midstream work involves the collection and transportation of crude oil, natural gas, refined petroleum products, and slurry. 49,000 workers were engaged in the transportation and material moving occupations of crude oil, natural gas, and other materials in May 2017.
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Workers
In 2017, there were a total of 7,200 of these workers in Midstream. These workers lubricate machines, change parts, and perform machinery maintenance. Common job titles for this occupation are Lubricator, Maintenance Man, and Oiler.
Oil and Gas maintenance worker wearing the 951 "Hyperfit" multitask glove.
Petroleum Pump System Operators
The most recent BLS statistics indicate that 6,380 workers are employed as petroleum pump system operators in the U.S. They are the ones monitoring gauges, opening valves to regulate the flow of oil, and operating pumping systems. Common job titles for this position are Gauger and Pumper. for this position are Lubricator, Maintenance Man, and Oiler
Gauges and valves are found in all Upstream, Midstream and Downstream operations.
Top Occupations in Refining
The focus of Downstream work is the manufacturing, refining, and marketing of petroleum products. As of December 2018, with seasonal adjustments, there were 112,870 total employees in manufacturing positions. 46,570 of these were production occupations.
The top two occupations found in Midstream are also the top two occupations found in Downstream. There are 20,310 Pump System Operators and 10,400 Installation, Maintenance, and Repair occupations working in refineries.
Contractors make up 77% of the entire Upstream workforce. Whether you are a contractor yourself or you routinely hire contractors, you know that these workers are especially vulnerable to workplace hazards. According to Joe Eastin, CEO of ISN, contractors have a 30% higher total recordable incident rate than other company employees that year.
In his article published in March 2018, Eastin noted one of the findings from a recently conducted contractor-management strategy survey: 60% of the 34 organizations in the upstream oil and gas industry reported that they expected to see an increase in their outsourcing of work to third-party contractors over the subsequent 12 to 18 months. If you visit the links to the Bureau of Labor Management and Statistics listed above, you’ll see that there have been increases in the number of employees in the oil and gas industry.
Contractors need to be seen at all times with Hi-Visibility PPE.
More workers being hired is great news for the oil and gas industry and its employees, but the increased risk for serious injury or death is one that companies need to take seriously. In 2015, of the 4,836 fatal work injuries in the United States, 17% were sustained by contracted workers. One fatality is one too many.
Managers of the owner company need to clearly define expectations, safety regulations, and the scope of work so that contractors have established policies to follow and don’t need to guess what they should be doing. Managers also need to outline the chain of command so that contractors know to whom they should report and of whom they can ask questions. Roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities should be clearly defined. And, most importantly, managers must be consistent in their enforcement of expectations and contractual obligations, and work with the contractor on all aspects of safety on the job site.
Common Hazards Encountered by Contractors
For every 100 employees, there are 3 incidents. Pump maintenance in and of itself can be hazardous. Here are some of the hazards contractors must guard against:
- Abrasive handling when transporting or working with tools, pipes, and rigging.
FF2930 moving abrasive pipes.
- Chemical and liquid spills and splashes, repelled water, drilling fluids, and water-based mud and oil
- Dropped objects and tools can easily injure hands and feet, while water and other liquids can cause workers to slip and fall.
- Fire and explosions are responsible for 16% of all oil and gas fatalities
- Flying projectiles can irritate eyes due to liquids, dust, or debris getting into them.
- Crush and impact injuries from tongs and spinning chains while moving heavy objects; unloading, assembly, and disassembly of pipes; lifting gear with chain hoists; sledgehammering; working around equipment and loads that swing, as well as around motor-operated valves, are all dangers that must be protected against so workers stay safe.
Contractor PPE Required
We supply contractors with PPE that keeps them safe from the hazards mentioned above. Take a look at our gloves, glasses, and garments to find the PPE that’s right for you. Not sure where to start? Try consulting some of our blogs, including:
MCR Safety is devoted to creating educational resources that help oil and gas workers understand the PPE needed on a job site, no matter the task.
We Protect People
Every day, MCR Safety works with our motto in mind: “We Protect People.” No matter what job you perform across the oil and gas industry, MCR Safety is dedicated to providing you with the best PPE available. Click the below image for all of MCR Safety's Oil and Gas resources.
Do you have questions about MCR Safety’s products? Contact us! We’re happy to answer your questions and we’ll be happy to help you find the perfect PPE gear for your needs.
For over 40 years, MCR Safety has proven to be a world-leader in gloves, glasses, and garments. Whether it’s on a shop floor, an oil rig, or a construction site, we are there providing solutions to workplace hazards. We Protect People!
Learn more about MCR Safety by checking out our most recent video. For more information, browse our website, request a catalog, find a distributor, or give us a call at 800-955-6887