Emerging Occupational Health Issues in Unconventional Oil and Gas Exploration and Production – a NIOSH Perspective

In 2010, NIOSH initiated the Field Effort to Assess Chemical Exposures in Oil and Gas Workers to determine if chemical exposure risks were present for workers during drilling, completions and servicing operations. This presentation describes continuing industrial hygiene field research NIOSH has conducted focusing on a number of compounds identified for which oil and gas extraction workers have significant exposure risks. Specifically, NIOSH researchers have conducted exposure assessments for respirable crystalline silica (quartz) at 11 hydraulic fracturing operations in 5 states. Full-shift exposures were found to exceed occupational exposure criteria set or recommended by OSHA, NIOSH, or ACGIH. Additionally, industrial hygiene field research has also been conducted for exposures to hydrocarbon gases and vapors associated with hydraulic fracturing and flowback operations and during manual tank gauging and sampling activities. Results of these studies identified significant risks for over-exposures to these gases and vapors as well as low oxygen concentrations while gauging and sampling. A series of worker deaths related to these exposures have also been identified. Improved controls and worker protections for the identified risks have been recommended as a result of research findings and will be discussed.


Visitor parking is available in the Visitor Garage, levels G-1 and G-2. Parking is metered and payable by credit card only. All visitors must check-in on level 2 at either the Tower Concierge Desk or the Marathon Oil Corporation Reception Desk. Please have photo identification available upon check-in.

Lunch will be provided at 11:30, followed by the speaker’s presentation at 12:00.

Location: Marathon Conference Center Rm P1021
5555 San Felipe
Houston , Texas 77056

Date: April 11, 2017, 11:30 a.m. - April 11, 2017, 1 p.m.