Union requests renegotiations on oil worker safety provisions

July 8, 2010

Following a series of fires, injuries and deaths in the oil industry, the United Steelworkers has asked the industry to reopen the National Oil Bargaining agreement to negotiate health and safety provisions.

The NOB sets a national floor from which local unions and the oil industry negotiate contracts. USW requested negotiations with the oil industry that would cover process safety, the right to refuse unsafe work, fatigue and reporting of process safety indicators.

According to Pittsburgh-based USW, 13 fires, 19 deaths and 25 injuries occurred in April and May in the oil sector, the most prominent being the April 20 oil rig explosion off the coast of Louisiana that killed 11 workers and is causing the worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States.

When reached for a response on USW's request, a spokesperson for the American Petroleum Institute, a Washington-based national trade association representing the oil and natural gas industry, declined to comment.