By James L. Curtis and Craig B. Simonsen

iStock_000060649530_MediumSeyfarth Synopsis: The National STEPS Network provides a working model of an industry wide employee onboarding and safety training program.

We attended the World Safety Organization International Environmental and Occupational Safety and Health Symposium this week. A Keynote address at the Symposium, presented by Rick L. Ingram of BP America and Elizabeth A. Haley of the  Petroleum Education Council, discussed the National Service, Transmission, Exploration & Production Safety (STEPS) Network.

The STEPS Network was organized in the face of oil and gas (O&G) industry wide injury and fatality statistics that were alarming to both OSHA and the industry. In response, in 2003, OSHA invited industry representatives and safety consultants from all associated fields to attend a meeting to make a change.  STEPS set-up and implemented an employee onboarding and training system that is applicable across the industry.

The National STEPS Network includes operators and contractors in the O&G Exploration, Production and Product Transmission industry as equally valued members in partnership with OSHA, NIOSH, other trade associations, and educators across the country. The Network’s goal was to serve all producing regions of the United States and to eventually share the program internationally.

The STEPS system as established provided three tiers of training:

  • Tier One: New employee onboarding, a 7 1/2 hour safety orientation program;
  • Tier Two: OSHA 5810, Hazards Recognition and Standards for On-Shore O&G Exploration and Production; and
  • Tier Three: Leadership Course for O&G Leaders.

The STEPS leadership indicates that the effort has been successful, providing over 940,000 Tier One orientation sessions through 2010. The National STEPS program has continued to grow, with now twenty-two independent regional networks serving twenty O&G producing states. Eight of the networks have signed formal alliances with OSHA, and the National STEPS Network signed a formal Alliance with OSHA and NIOSH on December 2, 2014.

For other industry segments, and for employers, the STEPS Network provides a working model for safety industry-wide onboarding and training. It is a model that may provide other industries and employers with food-for-thought.

For more information on this or any related topic please contact the authors, your Seyfarth attorney, or any member of the OSHA Compliance, Enforcement & Litigation Team.