Natural Gas Industry Safety Orientation Training

Posted: July 4, 2010

Standardized safety and environmental awareness training programs are designed to help all natural gas workers recognize the many basic job hazards they may encounter and how to minimize the impact.

With the explosion of Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale jobs, large numbers of new employees are rapidly entering the natural gas job sector, making it a challenge for natural gas operators and the service industry employers to ensure that these new workers are adequately trained.  Many companies have strong safety and environmental orientation training programs.  However, it is difficult to compare one company’s training program with another and some companies may not have a training program that is rigorous enough.  In addition, many of the natural gas operators have their own training requirements for those contractors working on their locations. 

Last month, I was given the opportunity to take part in a natural gas basic safety orientation program offered at Penn College of Technology through the Marcellus Shale Education Training Center (MSETC).  The Petroleum Education Council (PEC) Premier Basic Safety Orientation awareness training course was designed to address basic orientation training, taking the place of multiple natural gas operator orientations and to give each student a comprehensive view of natural gas industry safety and environmental issues.  The PEC SafeLand Training is a one-day program that meets the American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice requirements (75 & T-1) and provides a basic understanding of general safety that an employee should know before entering a company facility and while performing their assigned work duties.  Many of the leading oil and gas operators accept this orientation as it meets their requirements (Anadarko, Shell, Marathon, Range and many others).  Upon the successful completion of the course, each student is issued a PEC Premier SafeLand picture identification card with a unique barcode and the student information is then stored in an online database.  Additional completed safety training programs can be updated to the database and listed on the back of the ID card functioning as a portable record of training.

The course is a full day of training and testing on topics such as proper workplace attitude, hazardous communications, rigging, lockout/tagout, fall protection, emergency response, confined space, terrorism response awareness, and personal protective equipment.  The main objectives of the course is to help one  know what types of additional training they will  need in order to work for the various operators in the industry and to create a mindset that will help each person play an active role in the safety program at their work facility.

Standardized safety and environmental awareness training will help to ensure that new natural gas industry workers recognize basic job hazards and that they minimize impacts to the environment.  As these new workers gain more experience they can mentor the next generation of new workers entering the Pennsylvania natural gas industry.

More information on this course can be found at the Marcellus Shale Education Training Center  or  the PEC Premier websites.


Carol Loveland, Penn State Extension Associate, with special thanks to Doug Mehan, CSP,Director - Health, Safety & Environmental at Dallas-Morris Companies who is an instructor for the course.