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Coal | Advocacy groups | Oil and gas

AFL-CIO releases annual report; calls for more oil and gas oversight

May 8, 2014

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Washington – Federal oversight of the oil and gas extraction industry should be rethought and potentially changed to a model used in regulating the coal mining industry, one workplace safety advocate said following the release of the AFL-CIO’s annual Death on the Job report.

“Much more significant effort and oversight are needed in this dangerous industry,” Peg Seminario, safety and health director for the union, said during a May 8 conference call announcing the report.

Seminario said changes are necessary because of the high fatality rate seen in the oil and gas industry and the relatively low odds of worksites being inspected – it would take OSHA 139 years to inspect each U.S. worksite once. Conversely, the Mine Safety and Health Administration inspects many mines multiple times a year.

The report highlights several other concerns, including musculoskeletal disorders, workplace violence, and increased deaths and injuries among Latino and immigrant workers.

Noting that the numbers of worker injuries, illnesses and fatalities have plateaued, Seminario called for additional resources for OSHA. “OSHA has fewer resources today, in real terms, to oversee workplaces than it did back in 1980, and the workforce is much bigger and the problems are much bigger,” she said.