Since the extraction of petroleum from deep underground reservoirs is an inherently dangerous activity, maintaining safety on oil rigs is a crucial task that requires deliberate and thorough consideration and planning on the part of rig operators, managers, and workers. The Deepwater Horizon incident gravely underscored the undeniable necessity for safety awareness and vigilance on all oil rigs, onshore and offshore.
In the US, occupational safety oversight of onshore oil rigs is the responsibility of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the Department of Labor and of the respective state health and safety agencies (OSHA_safety, state_H&S). In Canada, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety and the respective provincial or territorial agencies and worker's compensation boards are responsible for formulating and enforcing the safety regulations for onshore oil rig operations (CCOHS).
Canada oil and gas occupational safety and health regulations are available here: petroleum_drilling, petroleum_general_safety, oil&gas_safety_regulations, and safety_code. A detailed pre-Macondo OSHA oil-and-gas health-and-safety training manual is available here: training_manual. These sources provide a good starting point for acquiring general familiarity with the safety regulations of the oil and gas industry. Specific examples and scenarios as well as the rationale for many of the safety conventions and recommendations are also provided.
If it passes, a pending bill in the US Congress will, among other provisions, increase the fines for occupational safety violations with the hope that such higher monetary penalties will encourage adherence to safety regulations and recommended practices (OSHA_bill). The robustness (or lack thereof) of US occupational safety regulations, as well as the degree to which they were being enforced, had already been strongly criticized even before the April 2010 Macondo blowout (need_for_safety).
Although the current oil-and-gas safety situation in Canada seems to be more encouraging than that of the US, it would be advantageous for Canadian workers and managers not to become complacent. As with the pending Occupational Safety and Health Act amendment bill in the US Congress, providing additional incentives for maintaining a safety-conscious work culture could even further enhance Canada's oil-and-gas industry safety record.