There may be good news for workers at gas wells in Pennsylvania. This week,
the state legislature approved a bill that would require well site operators
to create emergency plans and provide them to local and state officials.
The bill would require the standardization of procedure following a
workplace injury on any Pennsylvania gas well site. The bill has been sent to Governor
Tom Corbett to sign. The senator who sponsored the bill said she expects
the governor to give his approval, after which the new law would immediately
go into effect.
Because most of the gas drilling in Pennsylvania takes place in very rural
areas where there aren't street addresses, the bill would also require
that local authorities and rescue crews have GPS coordinates for the well
sites. Knowing those coordinates will allow first responders to arrive
at the scene of a workplace accident more quickly, potentially saving
more lives and better tending to injuries.
A spokesperson for the company that has drilled more gas wells in Pennsylvania
than any other said that the standardization of safety rules is crucial
to providing care to workers when they are injured on the job. "If
you had, for instance, an employee or a worker who is injured on a location,"
he said, "you're going to need to be able to get a lifeline helicopter
there very quickly. And you're gonna need to have all that planned
out in advance."
Any employee in Pennsylvania has the right to a reasonable level of safety
on any job site, just as every employee has a right to seek medical attention
beyond that provided by the "company doctor." Ideally, the new
law would help ensure that these issues are addressed, and that workplace
injuries are tended to properly in 2012.
Source: newsworks.org, "Pa. lawmakers back standardized safety measures for well sites," Mary Wilson, Jan. 18, 2012