Health & Safety
Safety is important to everyone and is a core value for the natural gas and oil industry. API’s members are committed to protecting the environment, and the health and safety of all who share it. They work tirelessly to improve safety practices through ongoing research, standards development, training, information sharing, and advocacy. The oil and natural gas industry is becoming an increasingly safer place to work, despite a job environment that often involves heavy equipment, hazardous materials, high temperatures and high pressure equipment. This is reflected by a declining rate of illnesses and injuries – a rate much lower than that for the private sector as a whole.
The natural gas and oil industry’s commitment to excellence in workplace safety not only protects the 9.8 million jobs supported by the industry across the country, but it also keeps surrounding communities and the environment healthy and safe. Workplace safety covers a large and varied set of procedures, conditions and environments, from personal safety, which protects the individual worker, to operational and process safety, which focuses on the equipment and procedures that keep hydrocarbons and other hazardous materials properly contained. Personal safety and process safety work hand-in-hand to ensure responsible development of natural gas and oil – providing the essential products that make modern life possible while keeping our workers and nearby communities safe.
Safety is and will always be the Industry’s primary focus, and the workers who serve on the frontlines of our operations play an essential role in ensuring safe work practices and preventing workplace incidents. Each worker at a worksite has a duty to work in a safe manner and must make safety a part of each and every task.
API’s Rules to Live By cover some of the most critical safety hazards that have caused worker loss of life within the industry. They are intended as simple, concise reminders to workers and supervisors of important safety guidelines and what steps can be taken to mitigate certain hazards.
API is the worldwide leading standards setting body for the oil and natural gas industry. In our on-going effort toward continuous improvement of oil and natural gas operations and building on existing API standards and practices pertaining to oil and gas extraction, API has developed the following standards to assist the oil and gas industry in promoting personnel and public safety.
Understanding best safety practices and being trained in the tasks you are to perform prior to reaching the job site is essential to assure the safety of yourself and those around you. API member companies have an expectation that workers and contractors are properly trained and competent to carry out their job functions. The natural oil and gas industry has taken many steps to provide education and training opportunities for its workers.
The oil and natural gas industry directly employs almost 2.6 million Americans, and supports 9.8 million jobs in America or 5.6% of total U.S. employment. Therefore, it is critical that oil and natural gas companies are aware of and plan for the potential threats that could directly or indirectly impact their employees and operations.
The industry has taken great strides to enhance the safety of its exploration and drilling operations, ensuring the safe and environmentally responsible exploration and production of natural gas, crude oil, and associated liquids on lands administered by state and federal authorities, including production via the use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling in unconventional plays.
The natural gas and oil industry works tirelessly to improve safety in the workplace through ongoing research, standards development, training, information transfer, and advocacy.
Safety stands out as a core value for the oil and natural gas industry, embedded in every process and decision for operations. This approach has led to continued advancements in technology, improved industry standards and enhanced best practices, smarter regulations, and innovative approaches to addressing offshore safety. This continued and comprehensive progress has made offshore oil and natural gas exploration and production the safest it’s ever been.
Pipeline, rail and marine safety.
Beneath America's cities and rural areas lies a complex network of pipelines, wires, conduits and cables. Some are buried only a few feet - or less - below the surface. Hitting these lines can damage them, disrupting service, resulting in costly repairs and possibly fines and even endangering lives. A federally-mandated national "Call Before You Dig" number, 811 was created to help protect you from unintentionally hitting underground utility lines while working on digging projects.
In coordination with the rail industry, API created a safety awareness course for first responders.
- First Responder Training
- Oil Spill Prevention and Response
- Emergency Response
API members are committed to protecting the health and safety of their workers and the community. To this end, the refining industry has made significant investments in programs, training, standards and practices, and equipment that have led to occupational and process safety performance improvements. These investments continue as part of the industry’s overall continuous improvement effort.
API strongly supports the principles of fire prevention as elements for personnel and property protection in the petroleum industry. Prevention programs provide the most effective means of ensuring personnel safety. API provides a forum for its members to share information and develop industry standards to advance safety and loss prevention programs. Currently, API maintains about 30 safety and fire protection standards and recommended practices.
API’s members that operate refineries and plants support a mission to promote safe, healthful, efficient, and environmentally sound practices, specifically when it relates to occupational safety. When tasks like confined space entry or working at heights are completed, extra caution must be taken. Through the API Safety & Fire Protection Group, a forum is provided for members to share information and develop industry standards to advance best practices for these critical jobs, as well as others, all to ensure employees are safe and the environment is protected. Additionally, this team works to provide input to OSHA and other relevant government agencies on the practical ways to enforce and regulate occupational safety.
API member companies are committed to conducting business in a manner that protects the safety and health of their employees, others involved in their operations, customers, and the public. Process safety is part of safety management and focuses on the concerns of major hazards impacting, safety, environmental damage and business losses. The goal of process safety management is to develop plant systems and procedures to prevent unwanted releases that may ignite and cause toxic impacts, local fires or explosions.
Consumers also play an important role in safety. To learn more about steps you can take to ensure safety, please go to our Consumer Resources webpage.
The natural gas and oil industry is committed to protecting the health and safety of our employees, our contractors, and the people of the communities in which we operate. Natural gas is helping to improve the health of communities and environments across the U.S. by decreasing pollution levels and improving air quality, and internationally-recognized standards help ensure the safety of our workers and communities.
API's product stewardship activities and programs support the oil and natural gas industry in its commitment to a shared responsibility for the industry's environmental, health and safety performance.
The members of API envision a petroleum industry that conducts and manages its operations safely and with respect for the environment and the safety of its workers and the public.