Industry in natural resources hit its first big stride in the mid 19th century when the Gold Rush hit and hundreds of thousands of people headed out to California to strike it rich. It took a while for natural resource industries to take root, especially the oil industry. For a long time, even with oil refineries popping up around America, there wasn’t much use for oil in that time period. That all changed when John D. Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company in 1870, which initiated the widespread use of oil use by consumers.
During this time of new and growing industry, safety was left on the back burner. Before automated machinery, much of the work was done by hand. Oil was stored very hazardously in wood or steel containers. Most of the time efficiency won out over safety as thousands of workers were killed due to lack of safety enforcement.
Eventually, after World War I, oil became the most sought-after commodity in the world. Naturally, the industry boomed, big time. And with the immense growth, came increased injuries and deaths as a result of the lack of safety procedures. For a long time, safety in the workplace was focused on protecting property and equipment, but not people. In the mid 1940s after a tragic explosion in Cleveland, the push for safety became much more important as deaths kept rising for industry workers.
By the 1970s, Personal Protection Equipment finally began gaining traction in the oil and gas industry. Finally, safety had become a priority for workers. Since that time safety has improved significantly and death rates for workers in the industries have dropped by almost 40%. Now that property and equipment is properly insured, safety efforts can now be focused on protecting people