NORA Oil & Gas Extraction Summit Spotlights Psychosocial Stressors as Top Risk
The Center for Health, Work & Environment partnered with the NORA Oil & Gas Extraction Council to host the virtual summitApr 27, 2023
The Center for Health, Work & Environment partnered with the NORA Oil & Gas Extraction Council to host the 2023 Spring Health and Safety Summit. The 8-hour, virtual summit spanned two days and reached over 230 representatives from the oil and gas industry, academia, and government. The program focused on psychosocial stressors and topics included mental health, substance use, and fatigue in the OGE industry.
The OGE industry consistently reports heavy alcohol consumption among its employees. Summit presenters emphasized the importance of recovery-friendly workplace policies and procedures and reminded employers that workers in recovery tend to make strong and dedicated employees.
An employee panel featured two individuals who spoke about the mental health effects that fly-in, fly-out workers are faced with. Both speakers shared best practices on how to support workers and their families to prevent chronic stress and other psychosocial stressors from taking a negative toll on their health and well-being. Males in mining sector and females in construction & extraction occupations have the highest suicide rates among all industries and occupations, by sex.
Employers and employees are encouraged to identify warning signs of suicide, listen non-judgmentally, focus on non-verbal communication, emphasize confidentiality, use non-stigmatizing language, and provide resources.
Fatigue and mental well-being are also mounting challenges to OGE workers. These issues lead presenters to discuss fatigue prevention technology, fatigue management, and mindfulness interventions to improve safety. Presenters outlined what to look for when purchasing fatigue detection technology and when it may prove useful. Creating policies that support the technology and finding ways to implement it, alongside fatigue management practices, are also helpful in reducing safety-related concerns in the OGE workplace. The summit included a discussion of a study on mindfulness in off-shore health safety.
Researchers indicate that it takes time for mindfulness interventions to show benefits but individuals who practiced more mindfulness reported a higher sense of productivity and job satisfaction. Workers also experienced lower levels of fatigue on days following those where they practiced mindfulness. These interventions were met with little hesitation from workers as they were introduced as part of the safety exercises associated with the jobs.
For additional information and to view previous presentations, please visit the event website.
Written by Cortney Cuff, MBA, senior program manager, training and community at the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health.