Significant progress has been made globally in the upstream oil and gas industry in reducing the number and rate of fatalities related to land transport (hereafter referred to as "motor vehicle") related activities. However, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death to oil and gas extraction workers in the United States.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) analyzed motor vehicle fatalities in the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry from 2003–2009 (Retzer, 2011). The study made three significant findings: 1) 74% of all motor vehicle-related fatalities occurred to workers employed by companies with less than 100 employees; 2) 30% of the fatalities occurred to employees with less than one year experience with their current employer; and 3) at least 38% were not wearing their seat belt at the time of the fatal crash.

Many large oil and gas extraction companies as well as companies in other industries have found that monitoring their drivers’ behaviors is an effective way to reduce the risk of motor vehicle crashes. As recognized by the OGP LTS RP 365, In-Vehicle Monitoring Systems (IVMS) are electronic devices used to identify at-risk behavior as well as seatbelt use, providing data for targeted driver coaching. For large companies, the research, selection, implementation and management of an IVMS program is a daunting challenge; for a small business, it can be overwhelming.

Working with recognized industry leaders, NIOSH has developed tools to assist smaller oil and gas companies and others to reduce risk of motor vehicle fatality. One of these tools is a guidance document for IVMS use: "Implementing an In-Vehicle Monitoring Program: A Guide for the Oil and Gas Extraction Industry". The IVMS guide provides ‘best practice’ in how to:

  • Select the system that best fits a company's needs.

  • Successfully implement an in-vehicle monitoring program.

  • Best utilize IVMS data to improve motor vehicle safety and reduce fatalities.

The purpose of this paper is to provide information about motor vehicle crashes, describe some benefits of IVMS, and introduce the IVMS guide developed by NIOSH and its partners for the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry.

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