US government proposes new workplace safety rules for offshore oil and gas industry

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September 13, 2011

us-department-interior-logoWASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–The U.S. Interior Department Tuesday proposed additional workplace safety requirements for offshore oil and gas drillers.

The proposals would make further revisions to a workplace safety rule that is set to go into effect in November and come in addition to other rule changes the department has implemented since last year’s massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The rules proposed Tuesday would establish new guidelines for reporting unsafe work conditions and “clearly defined requirements” for who is in charge of “operational safety and decision making” at a given facility, the department said. It would also require safety audits conducted by third parties.

In October, the agency in charge of offshore oil and gas production is set to split into two entities, one in charge of leasing and the other in charge of safety inspections and drilling permits.

“Our goal is to ensure that safety is front and center every day, for every worker, on every project,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement.

The agency will take public comment on the rules through Nov. 14.

-By Ryan Tracy, Dow Jones Newswires

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