·  USW

USW Participating Dec. 15 in Chemical Safety Board Hearing on Offshore Oil, Gas Safety

Lynne Baker, USW Communications, c) 615-828-6169, lbaker@usw.org
Gary Hubbard, USW Public Affairs, c) 202-256-8125, o) 202-778-4384, ghubbard@usw.org

Washington, D.C.—A United Steelworkers Union (USW) oil health and safety expert and two USW leaders who work on the North Slope of Alaska in BP’s pipeline and exploration operations will be discussing process safety issues at the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) Dec. 15 hearing in Washington, D.C. on “Regulatory Approaches to Offshore Oil and Gas Safety.”

The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) and the Deepwater Horizon investigation team will hear from three panels of leading safety experts from regulatory authorities, industry and unions involved in oil and gas exploration and production safety operations.

On the union panel will be Mike Wright, USW director of the Health, Safety and Environment department; Glenn Trimmer, secretary-treasurer of USW Local 4959, who works in operations at BP’s North Slope site; Fritz Guenther, chief steward of Local 4959, who works in maintenance at BP’s North Slope site; and Roy Erling Furre, representative, Norwegian Union of Energy Workers.

Trimmer and Guenther do similar jobs on land that the offshore workers do. Trimmer will discuss BP safety and employee involvement programs and the reporting of accidents and near misses at the North Slope site. Guenther will talk about preventive maintenance issues. Wright will speak on process safety issues in the oil sector and the union’s health and safety campaign.

At this hearing the CSB board and Deepwater Horizon investigation team will be gathering information on how offshore oil and gas drilling is managed and regulated in other countries. The CSB will examine this information in light of other significant CSB energy sector investigations and recommendations including the 2005 BP Texas City accident investigation. The USW worked with the CSB on the 2005 Texas City investigation and other refinery investigations.

The union panel is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Eastern Time on Dec. 15. After the panel presentations there will be a question and answer period. The all-day hearing lasts from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

The hearing will be accessible via webcast through the CSB’s homepage at www.csb.gov.

The USW represents about 30,000 oil workers in the refining sector and about 300 BP North Slope workers. More about the USW oil safety program is at www.usw.org/.

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