Gov. Matt Mead announced today that he will shuffle vacant positions within state government, and possibly make new hires, to beef up resources at Wyoming Occupational Health and Administration (OSHA) as part of the state’s larger effort to curb on-the-job …
A united effort among industry and safety officials is crucial to identifying and implementing a smart strategy to make sure more Wyoming’s workers return home safe each night. But it’s troubling that Mead — and many Wyoming lawmakers — remain decidedly “unconvinced” that higher fines and stepped-up enforcement measures can be part of that strategy.
Beyond those efforts, exactly what WOGISA can and should do to help stem serious injuries and fatalities in the industry isn’t clear to it’s own members. Attendees in Rock Springs complained that a company can have a seatbelt policy, but that doesn’t mean all of their employees will wear seatbelts every time they’re in a vehicle.
“You can build all the policies you want, but if you don’t hold employees accountable for their actions,” the policies have little effect, said Denny Gladwin of Halliburton Services.
Wyoming's rules are the strongest in place, although it's unclear how thoroughly they are being enforced. The rules require public disclosure of all the chemicals except for trade secrets, which drillers must submit for regulators' eyes only. The only thing the rule lacks, critics say, is a requirement to report the concentration of the individual chemicals.
Three reports that were selected at random and reviewed by ProPublica appeared to leave out some of the chemicals used. Tom Doll, the state's oil and gas supervisor, said his agency has two staff members reviewing each of the reports.
WOGISA’s efforts to develop more workforce safety and development training is absolutely critical given the fact that Wyoming OSHA's budget will be slashed 20 percent in 2013. The agency currently struggles to meet demand for voluntary services — not that Wyoming employers are busting down walls to enroll in voluntary OSHA programs.