Mining, quarrying and oil well industries take the lead in safety according to recent stats

If you think the Alberta petroleum industry is the most dangerous to work in, guess again.

The mining, quarrying and oil well industry tops the list for having the lowest injury claim rate throughout the province.

According to a recent report, between 2010 to 2012, the rate of injuries claimed within this industry dropped from 0.47 per cent to 0.36 per cent. The only other manual labour job with a lower rate is agriculture.

Construction is the next lowest with an average injury claim rate of 1.81 per cent followed by manufacturing,with a rate of 2.05 per cent.

The low injury rate within the mining, quarrying and oil well industry has much to do with the safety standards set in place, according to Cameron MacGillivray, CEO and president of Enform, a company who trained 250,000 workers last year in the petroleum industry.

 “We have broad safety programs which teach companies how to build safety management systems and then we audit their management systems and make sure they’re carrying them out properly,” MacGillivray says.

Enform is the safety association for the entire petroleum industry and its board is responsible for raising the safety performance of petroleum related companies.

Brookes Merritt, a public affairs officer with Alberta’s jobs ministry, says that large companies in the industry who have multinational interests invest “a tremendous amount of money” to avoid going offline or having any production halts that would cause a loss in profits.Drilling rig near Big Hill Springs Provincial Park.

Photo by Amy Tucker

“We see them making significant investments in safety because they understand that a healthy and safe workforce is a workforce that is on the job,” Merritt says.

The Alberta government is responsible for creating and enforcing policies for companies but does not invest finances into safety programs.

“We have a variety of options at our disposal to improve compliance such as punitive measures and educational awareness measures,” Merritt says.

One drilling company suggests that the industry is overall a very safe place to work and government involvement is minimal.

Brian Krausert, who has been president of Beaver Drilling Ltd. for over 30 years, says the company had an incident last August where an employee sprained their knee from not following a safety procedure.

Krausert says that it is the only incident the company has had the entire year, but if it had been major, Occupational Health and Safety would be involved.

“Safety is an attitude,” Krausert says. “If guys want to work safe, they’ll work safe.”

Moreover, as the industry’s equipment progresses, Krausert says his company responded by “setting new safety procedures for every time the technology changes.”

Enform says they are also taking steps to help companies adjust to the continual refinements in technology to avoid accidents.

atucker@cjournal.ca
ncescon@cjournal.ca