From Houston to Williston, hundreds of oil company workers took time from their jobs today for one reason - to make their jobs safer when they return.
It's called a Safety Stand Down - a few hours of downtime where the
men and women who work in a very dangerous profession strive to reduce the dangers.
Today's Stand Down focused on the issues that have emerged as problems in the oil field including falls and fires.
In addition, it looked at issues that have been the most treacherous over the past few months - traffic accidents and respiratory damage from scilica dust or frac sand dust.
On the topic of traffic safety, experts recommend extending the same precautions used elsewhere in the industry - allowing drivers to pull over and stop their deliveries any time they think there's a dangerous situation - from fog to winter storms to being overly tired.
As for dust from frac sand, the recommendations include having a strong safety program of limiting exposure to the dust, to requiring safety equipment to protect workers who might contact the very dangerous scilica dust.
Train-ND at Williston State College helped sponsor the events to protect workers and the general public.
(Deanette Piesik, TrainND) "We're asking companies to shut down for just a couple of hours - half-a-day - and listen to what production companies and experts feel are important to the industry. Especially what we do is look back at accidents that quarter to see, what can we do to prevent those injuries. We do not want people to be injured in the oil and gas industry."
The Safety Stand Down was held in several states including North Dakota this morning.