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Gov. Doug Burgum was the first to put his signature on the One Basin-One Way collaboration to enhance safety in the oil and gas industry in North Dakota at an unveiling on Thursday, June 20 in Bismarck. Burgum, other state officials and company representatives from the energy industry were at the event sponsored by the North Dakota Safety Council. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

North Dakota oil industry, state officials laud uniform safety orientation

BISMARCK — Members of the North Dakota Petroleum Council trade group and state officials unveiled a uniform oilfield safety orientation program Thursday, June 20 that they lauded for its collaborative development and time-saving for workers.

Council President Ron Ness said 50 oil companies worked on standards for the One Basin-One Way curriculum over the last 18 months. The program aims to save time for oilfield contractors who often sit through multiple, redundant safety trainings on workplace hazards in a year.

The two-part program cycle involves a four-hour classroom instruction, followed by refresher training the next year, then repeats. TrainND Northwest in Williston and the North Dakota Safety Council will conduct the orientations in Bismarck, Dickinson, Fargo, Minot, Watford City and Williston.

An ID card will carry a contractor's training credentials across participating companies statewide. North Dakota's oilfield has about 32,000 contracted employees.

"Ensuring that moms and dads who encourage their kids to go into the oil and gas industry or the energy industry know that there's a safety-first mentality, I think, is extremely important," Ness said.

Kathy Neset, owner of Neset Consulting Service in Tioga, said the uniform orientation program offers a safety training model to other oil plays. Hess Corp. North Dakota General Manager Brent Lohnes said the orientation program is a tool to improve workforce efficiency and streamline safety training.

Gov. Doug Burgum gave remarks highlighting his familiar theme of technological innovation, challenging the room to further invest in research and development to innovate the oil industry and work safety. He pointed to the state's "Vision Zero" initiative to strive for zero traffic fatalities as a similar effort.

"Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford and I have said that our mission as it relates to the state of North Dakota is we want innovation, not red tape," Burgum said. "We want innovation, not regulation."

A grant from North Dakota Workforce Safety and Insurance to the Petroleum Council provides for a discount for One Basin-One Way training costs for the first 2,500 contractors to attend.