NIOSH Fact Sheets Address Fatigued Driving in the Oil and Gas Industry

Published March 28, 2018

Two new NIOSH fact sheets provide information to help oil and gas workers and employers prevent fatigued driving at work. According to the agency, more than 40 percent of work-related deaths in the oil and gas extraction industry are caused by motor vehicle crashes. Oil and gas workers often drive long distances to reach well sites and many work long shifts, factors which can contribute to driver fatigue, a major cause of crashes in the industry. Monotonous tasks, medications, and health conditions can also increase the risk of fatigued driving.

NIOSH urges oil and gas workers to get enough sleep—seven to nine hours each day—and maintain good health to help prevent fatigued driving. Workers should also make sure they understand and follow company policies about fatigue management, planning travel, and hours-of-service requirements. The agency reminds workers to use stop work authority any time they feel that it is unsafe to continue driving, and to look out for coworkers who may be fatigued, intervening when necessary.

Employers can help prevent fatigued driving by implementing a fatigue management policy and program, limiting the number of hours employees may work and drive per day or trip segment, and providing a rested driver to transport workers from remote sites after extended trips. Employers should also make sure that workers have an opportunity for sufficient sleep and educate them about how alcohol and drugs impair driving. This training should also include information about the possible side effects of prescription and over-the-counter medications. Technologies to detect fatigue before and while driving may help employers identify trends in risk to improve fatigue management programs.

More information is available from NIOSH’s Oil and Gas Extraction Program.

Related: The NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety provides animated GIF images to help promote safe driving both on and off the job. One of the images is specific to oil and gas workers and encourages them to stay safe on the road. Learn how to share the GIF on social media.