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Good Nabors; Local oilfield company earns safety honor from OSHA

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, October 30, 2013

When a company gets a visit from OSHA, it’s usually not a good thing.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration was created in 1970 to assure safe working conditions for American laborers and to set and enforce health and safety standards across the entire spectrum of U.S. business and industry. An OSHA visit can mean violations, fines, or worse – an accident investigation.

But last Friday, OSHA came to Decatur to honor a local oilfield service company for exemplary safety.

COMPANY HONORED – At the close of Friday’s ceremony, the OSHA Star Voluntary Protection Program flag was raised over the Nabors Completion and Production Services Co. Decatur Yard. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Nabors Completion and Production Services Co., located just north of town on U.S. 81/287, was accepted into OSHA’s Star Voluntary Protection Program, recognizing the company’s “exemplary achievement in the prevention and control of occupational safety and health hazards.”

Josh Lewis, OSHA’s VPP coordinator, was on hand to present the VPP flag to Nabors workers and management at a ceremony at the Decatur yard. The brief ceremony was held after lunch and featured company officials as well as members of the local facility’s safety committee.

Nabors’ Decatur yard started on a small property south of town in 2006. It has grown to occupy 42 acres north of town, with 54 employees doing administrative, maintenance and repair operations. Decatur operates 22 vacuum trucks, five winch/vacuum combination trucks, two pump trucks, a bobtail truck and 55 frac tanks.

Major customers supported by the Decatur facility include ConocoPhillips, Pioneer and Merit.

Needless to say, it can be hazardous work. Safety is a constant challenge.

The Decatur yard entered the VPP Challenge Program in 2008 and began working to meet the program’s rigorous standards. The program slowed after some personnel changes, but began with a renewed focus in late 2011.

In 2012, Decatur became the first Nabors facility to graduate Challenge. After excelling during an April 8 audit this year, Nabors’ Decatur Yard earned approval as a VPP Star Site on Aug. 22.

In the VPP program management, labor and OSHA establish cooperative relationships to prevent fatalities, injuries and illnesses through a system focused on:

  • hazard prevention and control;
  • worksite analysis;
  • training; and
  • management commitment and worker involvement.

To participate, employers must submit an application to OSHA and undergo a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of safety and health professionals. VPP participants are re-evaluated every three to five years to remain in the program.

Approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health.

Nabors owns and operates the world’s largest land-based drilling rig fleet and has one of the largest completion services and workover and well servicing rig fleets in North America. In addition to Decatur and Snyder in Texas, Nabors has VPP-approved sites in Elk City, Okla., Carlsbad and Hobbs, Belfield, N.D. and Nikiski, Alaska.

Speakers here Friday included Wayne Howard, HSE manager for the Ark-La-Texas region; Bill Dixon, local safety committee member and truck driver; Stephen Johnson, executive vice-president for production in the company’s Houston headquarters; Gary Jones, regional director for the Ark-La-Texas region; and Area Manager George Mumma.

Josh Lewis, VPP coordinator for OSHA, presented Mumma with the flag and a plaque. Shortly after the ceremony, the Star VPP flag was raised.

In a letter reprinted in the ceremony’s program, David Michaels, PhD, MPH and the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health, encouraged Mumma to “educate and mentor others in the benefits of effectively managing employee safety and health.

“On behalf of OSHA, I extend my thanks to you and your employees for your commitment to excellence, the VPP and the principle of continuous improvement,” he said. “I look forward to hearing about your ongoing safety and health endeavors and successes.”

At the close of the ceremony, the VPP flag was raised over the Decatur yard.

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