The National Service, Transmission, Exploration & Production Safety (STEPS) Network is a national safety network in the oil and gas industry that is comprised of volunteers from oil and gas companies, service companies, contractors and trade associations that operate within the U.S. It began in 2003 in South Texas, where the first regional effort was established with a goal of reducing fatalities and injuries in the industry. Success led to the creation of the National STEPS Network, along with more than 20 other independent regional networks. There is much overlap between these regional networks and the major shale oil and gas basins in the country.
The vision statement of STEPS is “incident-free operations.” Many of the networks have signed formal alliances with OSHA. The networks hold regular meetings, at both regional and national levels, where safety, health and environmental issues and good practices are discussed. Focus groups are set up to work on specific topics. A great example of what meetings can produce is the Tank Hazard Alert issued in 2015.
The alert covers tank gauging, thieving and fluid handling, and helps people recognize and avoid the hazards seen from these activities. It describes the potential effects of exposure, discusses personal protective equipment (PPE) that can help, and provides important guidance for both employers and workers around assessments of the specific hazards and best practices for managing them.
So if you want to improve your company’s safety performance, consider joining your local STEPS network. Why not take your contractors along to one of the local STEPS meetings and encourage their participation? Help your team learn what is happening in the rest of the industry around safety in the shale basins.
For more information, you can check out the National STEPS Network and the Tank Hazard Alert at www.nationalstepsnetwork.com.
Mr. Threadgold, an associate consultant at Accumyn, serves as a safety management systems expert and auditor in the capital project management and petroleum & chemicals practices. He is the founder and owner of Threadgold Safety Management L.P. which is a specialized consultancy providing safety management services and advice to the geophysical sector and to the broader oil and gas industry. His almost forty years of technical, supervisory, managerial, and operational experience in worldwide geophysical and exploration projects in the upstream oil and gas industry has provided him with exceptional project management and safety management insight. His deep knowledge of operating company safety, health, and environmental management processes enables him to professionally address almost any facet of worker safety management in the petroleum industry today.