Category: Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas Workers Count

  Energy has been in the news lately. Amid the discussions about energy prices and climate change, there has been far less media attention on the people who do hazardous work extracting the oil and gas so many of us use to stay warm and get where we need to go. These workers and the Read More >

Posted on by Ken Scott, PhD, MPH, and Tim Bushnell, PhD, MPA3 Comments

An Ancient Hazard in a 21st Century Workplace: The Power of Partnerships and Collaboration Investigating Respirable Crystalline Silica in Hydraulic Fracturing

  In 2013, NIOSH researchers published exposure assessment results for respirable crystalline silica in oil and gas extraction (OGE) workers performing hydraulic fracturing. The results were noteworthy; a previously unidentified but serious occupational exposure hazard was discovered, and risks were significant‒in some cases, personal breathing zone exposures exceeded 10 times the occupational exposure limits. This Read More >

Posted on by Eric J. Esswein, MSPH, CIH, FAIHA; CAPT Bradley King, PhD, MPH, CIH; and CAPT Ryan Hill, MPH2 Comments

A Physico-chemical and Toxicological Evaluation of Fracking Sand Dusts

  During hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a fluid is pumped under high pressure into a well bore to create fissures in the rock to facilitate the removal of gas. This fracking fluid contains a large number of ingredients, including water, chemical agents, and sand. The manipulation of sand at the well site creates respirable dust Read More >

Posted on by Jeffrey S. Fedan, PhD6 Comments

Drug Overdose in the Workplace and the Role of Opioids

The drug overdose epidemic continues to afflict our country. Nationally, there were more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017 [i] involving opioids (such as fentanyl, heroin and hydrocodone), stimulants (such as cocaine and methamphetamine), and alcohol.[ii] Nearly 70% of these deaths involved an opioid.[ii] Recent data show that drug overdoses at work are increasing. Read More >

Posted on by Dawn Castillo, MPH; Michael Fiore, MS; Emily Sparer-Fine, ScD; Hope M. Tiesman, PhD; Steve Wurzelbacher, PhD5 Comments

Labor Day Message from NIOSH Director, John Howard, MD

More than just a “day off,” Labor Day provides us a moment to pause and reflect on the efforts and sacrifice all men and women across the nation have worked through to keep this country moving, day and night, contributing to the economic and material well-being of its inhabitants. NIOSH’s mission has been and will Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD2 Comments

Gases and vapors continue to pose hazards on oil and gas well sites during gauging, fluid transfer, and disposal

Background A previous NIOSH report (2016)1 described the death of nine oil and gas extraction workers that occurred during gauging or sampling activities at open thief hatches on crude oil storage tanks. Hydrocarbon gases and vapors (HGVs) and associated oxygen displacement were the primary or contributory factors in these fatalities. Additionally, wellsite exposure assessments conducted Read More >

Posted on by Kyla Retzer, MPH; Emily Schmick, MSPH, CIH; Alejandra Ramirez-Cardenas, MPH; Bradley King, PhD, MPH, CIH; and John Snawder, PhD, DABT18 Comments

Fall Fatalities among Oil and Gas Extraction Workers, 2005-2014

Previous research has shown that fatality rates for oil and gas extraction workers were decreasing for all causes of death except for those associated with falls. (1) A new study from National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, examined risk factors for fatal fall events in this Read More >

Posted on by Krystal L. Mason, ScM; Kyla D. Retzer, MPH; Ryan Hill, MPH; and Jennifer M. Lincoln, PhD2 Comments

Occupational Health Issues in the USA

Happy New Year. As we start afresh in 2017 I wanted to share my recent editorial in the British journal, Occupational Medicine, “Occupational health issues in the USA”.  The article highlights some of the occupational safety and health issues identified as needing attention by the industry sector groups of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).  Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD11 Comments

Nonstandard Work Arrangements

Who is looking out for workers in nonstandard work arrangements? As the prevalence of nonstandard work arrangements (such as temporary agency, contract, and “gig” arrangements) rises, so do concerns about workplace safety and health among this workforce. A recent article, “Nonstandard work arrangements and worker health and safety” published in the American Journal of Industrial Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD18 Comments

Deepwater Horizon

With last week’s premier of the movie Deepwater Horizon, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) remembers the workers who were killed and injured in the explosion as well as the tens of thousands who worked on containment and clean up activities. NIOSH played an important role in protecting and monitoring the health and Read More >

Posted on by CDR Lisa Delaney, MS, CIH2 Comments

Workers Memorial Day Message 2016

  Each year we pause on April 28 for Workers Memorial Day to publicly remember the workers who died or suffered from exposures to hazards at work. While worker deaths in America are down, on average, even one death or one injury is still too many. To prevent injury, illness, and death in today’s workplaces, Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD 6 Comments

UPDATE: Reports of Worker Fatalities during Manual Tank Gauging and Sampling in the Oil and Gas Extraction Industry

  On May 19th, 2014, NIOSH posted a Science blog titled “Reports of Worker Fatalities during Flowback Operations”. This blog post provided information that NIOSH received from several sources indicating that acute exposures to hydrocarbon gas and vapors likely played a role in the deaths of at least four workers in the oil and gas Read More >

Posted on by Bradley King, PhD, MPH, CIH; Eric Esswein, MSPH, CIH; Kyla Retzer, MPH; John Snawder, PhD, DABT; Sophia Ridl, BS; Michael Breitenstein, BS; Marissa Alexander-Scott, DVM, MS, MPH; Ryan Hill, MPH.6 Comments

Preliminary Field Studies on Worker Exposures to Volatile Chemicals during Oil and Gas Extraction Flowback and Production Testing Operations

This blog describes NIOSH evaluations of worker exposures to specific chemicals during oil and gas extraction flowback and production testing activities. These activities occur after well stimulation and are necessary to bring the well into production. Included are descriptions of initial exposure assessments, findings, and recommendations to reduce worker exposures to potential hazards. Further details Read More >

Posted on by Eric J. Esswein, MSPH, CIH, John Snawder, PhD, DABT, Bradley King, MPH, CIH, Michael Breitenstein, BS, and Marissa Alexander-Scott, DVM, MS, MPH.23 Comments

Preventing Skin Cancer

As the nation’s doctor, I recently launched a Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer to address the rising rates of skin cancer in the U.S. While nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer each year in the U.S., with an annual cost of $8.1 billion, most cases are preventable. Although people with Read More >

Posted on by RADM Boris D. Lushniak, M.D., M.P.H, Acting Surgeon General.35 Comments

Reports of Worker Fatalities during Flowback Operations

Although worker safety hazards in the oil and gas extraction industry are well known, there is very little published data regarding occupational health hazards (e.g., types and magnitude of risks for chemical exposures) during oil and gas extraction operations. To address the lack of information, NIOSH requests assistance from oil and gas stakeholders in further Read More >

Posted on by John Snawder, Ph.D, DABT; Eric Esswein, MSPH, CIH; Bradley King, MPH, CIH; Michael Breitenstein, BS; Marissa Alexander-Scott, DVM, MS, MPH; Kyla Retzer, MPH; Max Kiefer, MS,CIH and Ryan Hill, MPH. 27 Comments

Coccidioidomycosis: An Enduring Work-Related Disease

Background Coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever, is a disease caused by the fungus Coccidioides. The fungus grows in the soil in very dry areas. Coccidioidomycosis is endemic (native and common) in the southwestern United States, the Central Valley of California, Mexico, and parts of Central and South America [CDC 2013a]. About 150,000 new infections Read More >

Posted on by Marie A. de Perio, MD; Gregory A. Burr, CIH10 Comments

The Importance of Occupational Safety and Health: Making for a “Super” Workplace

There’s just something about superhero movie summer releases that gets us here at NIOSH excited about safety. This summer the source of our inspiration came from the Man of Steel© movie. In the film, pre-Superman Clark Kent is working as a commercial fisherman (a hazardous job if you’re not a man of steel). He risks Read More >

Posted on by Jaclyn Krah, MA; Richard L. Unger 29 Comments

How Does Work Affect the Health of the U.S. Population? Free Data from the 2010 NHIS-OHS Provides the Answers

You may have some hypotheses about how work affects the health of the U.S. population, but collecting data from a nationally representative sample is expensive and time-consuming. What if there was free data available at your fingertips? You’re in luck! NIOSH sponsored an Occupational Health Supplement (OHS) to the 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), Read More >

Posted on by Sara E. Luckhaupt, MD, MPH; Dara L. Burris, BS 12 Comments

NIOSH HPD Well-Fit™: The Future is Fit-Testing

Today is Save Your Hearing Day.  For workers and others who are exposed to dangerously loud noises which cannot be reduced or eliminated, hearing protection devices (HPDs) are absolutely necessary to save their hearing.  But if HPDs are not properly selected or correctly worn, the devices may not block out enough noise and the wearer Read More >

Posted on by Captain William J. Murphy, Ph.D.; Dr. Mark R. Stephenson, Ph.D.; Captain David C. Byrne, M.S. CCC-A; Christa L. Themann, M.S. CCC-A 13 Comments

El trabajo con vehículos todo-terreno

This blog post is also available in English Durante los últimos treinta años, los vehículos todo-terreno (VTT) se han vuelto cada vez más populares a nivel recreativo y se han convertido en una herramienta importante en el trabajo.   Con unos 11 millones en uso en el 2010, tanto en actividades laborales como recreativas, los VTT Read More >

Posted on by Jim Helmkamp, PhD, MS 27 Comments