Oil industry develops experience-based safety education website

Posted at: 03/04/2014 10:23 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Two people are recovering from burns after an oil rig fire this afternoon south of Farmington.

The ordeal sparked KOB Eyewitness News 4 to ask how New Mexico's oil and gas industry can be safer, and what's being done to insure the industry learns from situations like this one.

Our question revealed there's already an effort to make safety a greater priority.

"The right attitude about safety in everything we do in our jobs is critical, particularly in oil and gas," said Wally Drangmeister.

Drangmeister works for the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, and Tuesday more than most days, folks in his business are talking about safety.

"We're in the process of developing a website," he said.

Months before Tuesday's fire put oil and gas rig safety into the spotlight, Drangmeister says his association of oil and gas companies has been working with the State Occupational Safety Bureau to build a single website where companies can access:
 - Accident investigations
- Risk assessments
- Other "best safety practices"

Drangmeister says it's important to compile a list of experiences and solutions to keep the industry better informed.

"In some cases there are subtle things that are dangerous and those are the sorts of things we spend a lot of time money and effort training folks to be aware of something you might not think of being a hazard or a danger," said Drangmeister.

The new website will be a directory of those hazards, with a list of tested solutions.

Once the investigation into Tuesday's fire is complete, that's the sort of information that would be included on the new oil and gas safety website.

The Oil and Gas Association has a test version of the site running now and expects it to be live in about a month.