According to a story from KMOT-TV in Minot, North Dakota, over 80 percent of oil field injuries happen to employees who are in their first year on the job. This information comes from the North Dakota Workforce Insurance and Safety department. The signs show that new workers might not be receiving the on-the-job training they need. “It goes down dramatically after that first year. 80 percent is the highest of all major industries in the state”, says Dakota M.E.P Director Randy Schwartz.
Mr. Schwartz has since teamed with the ND Petroleum Council and Workforce Safety and Insurance for an effective job instruction workshop. The workshop focuses on hands-on training from experienced employees. “We certainly don’t talk about training by reading a book or looking at a video. This is actually hands on, where you’ve got an experienced worker or supervisor training another person, but training them the right way.” Senior Business Advisor Terry Cox says companies might not be teaching new workers in the most effective way. “Companies do an excellent job of safety training, but we think we can help them with on the job training where they’re actually out in the field on the job.”
Phillip Jennings does heavy civil construction, involving oil pads, roads, and flow line installation. He says on-the-job training for new employees is a difficult yet critical aspect of oil field labor. “If, for example, an operator comes up from the south, he’s going to be working in frozen conditions that he’s not used to. Rather than him having to learn on the job, we’ll be able to take the lessons we learned here, standardize it, break down the operations, and let him understand what to expect before he gets into the field.” Jennings says the workshop should improve the safety of all of his workers…but especially the new ones.