MonDak Steps Network

A strictly volunteer non-profit organization, the MonDaks Safety Network's mission is to promote education, cooperation, participation, and communication of safety related issues specific to the Oil and Gas Industry.

To see their new website go to:

With the advent of modern horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, Bakken oil production became economically profitable. The Brakken region ranks as one of the largest oil developments in the U.S. in the past 40 years. This region has driven North Dakota’s oil production to levels four times higher than previous peaks in the 1980's. In addition to drilling, fracking in the Bakken has increased dramatically. The small towns in the area have seen an enormous influx of people looking for work. And with more inexperienced works flooding in hoping to land a job, more injuries and deaths are occurring. the goal of the MonDaks Safety Network is to have incident free operations in the Bakken. I heard from a friend, X, who went to Bainville, Montana looking for work. He happened to know folks who have lived there for a number of years and was able to stay with them. The locals, like his friends, say that nearby oil industry development and an influx of workers have maxed out the town's water system, destroyed roads, and introduced drugs and violent crimes unheard of by generations of farmers and ranchers. He heard many unsettling stories every night at they sat around in the evenings playing games, not around the table, but from laptops after first searching for the best US slots for players in the USA listed at and poker player friendly sites. It seemed they each had their favorite online gambling website. One of the convenient aspects of playing online at home, is no traveling. If there is really bad weather, hey you just turn on the computer to play your favorite casino table game. If you didn't want to play for real money, there were many free games. Slots was a favorite for low stakes. Caribbean Stud Poker, Caribbean Draw Poker, and Caribbean Hold'Em Poker seemed to be the most common and favorites of the poker playing folks. And when anyone won, everybody celebrated with a beer. X finally found a job for an oil well servicing company. He's making good money, but is accutely aware of the both positive and negative consequences as the area experiences the growing pains of the oil boom. He keeps me updated.

I have been following the Brakken oil boom in Montana since the early 2000's. Terry Johnson, director of energy research at the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic research ventures states that the boom peaked in 2005-2006 and now ten years later in 20015 it appears that the Montana’s oil wells in the Bakken region have already matured, and are now yielding less oil every year.

Recently I discovered that the domain for was available so I bought it with the goal of recreating some of its content from archived pages and to point visitors to their new site. I definitely didn't want someone else purchasing the domain and re-purposing the site for something that had nothing in common with the original website

The information you find below is from the site's 2015 archived pages as well as from other sources. Unfortunately I could not find an archived versions of the videos they had posted.

Brief History

The National Service, Transmission, Exploration & Production Safety (STEPS) Network is an all-volunteer organization which was founded in 2003 in South Texas by OSHA and Industry in an attempt to reduce injuries and fatalities in that region. The effort was successful, and STEPS has continued to grow, currently including seventeen independent networks serving fifteen producing states. Eight of the networks have signed formal alliances with OSHA.

To learn more about STPS go to their website at:

The National STEPS Network includes Operators and Contractors in the Oil and Gas Exploration, Production and Product Transmission industry as equally valued members in partnership with OSHA, API, AESC, IADC, IPAA, other trade associations, and educators across the country. The Network’s goal is to serve all producing regions of the United States and to eventually share our philosophy internationally.

MonDaks Calendar

MonDaks Safety Network meets Every SECOND Thursday of each month. Please visit our Calendar for information regarding our Monthly Meetings and Upcoming Events.


Join Us for our Monthly Meeting

To get to the Power Fuels Facility:
- Coming from Williston on 85 S (or 2nd Ave SW)
- Turn left on 9th St SW.
- Next you will turn left on Park Ave West. 906 Park Ave West is on the right.



The MonDaks Hydrocarbons Hazard Alert

Tank Gauging Hazard Alert

Final Content Approved 04/22/15

1. Tank Hazard Alert: Gauging, Thieving, Fluid Handling

How to Recognize and Avoid Hazards

2. Opening message:

Opening thief hatches of storage tanks can lead to the rapid release of high concentrations of hydrocarbon gases and vapors. Those may result in very low oxygen levels and toxic and flammable conditions around and over the hatch. Recent reports have documented fires or explosions, and described workers experiencing dizziness, fainting, headache, nausea, and, in some cases, death while gauging tanks, collecting samples, or transferring fluids. Tank gauging, thieving, and fluid handling can be performed safely with proper precautions,

3. Tank 1: Hazards that can be encountered by workers

  • Oxygen Displacement/Deficiency (gauge on empty/yellow background)
  • Fires/Explosions (fire placard)
  • Chemical Toxicity (exclamation mark placard)
    • Hydrocarbon Vapors
    • Propane
    • Butane
    • Benzene
    • Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)

4. Tank 2: Potential Effects of Exposure

  • Death
  • Chronic illness
  • Burns from flash fires
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Irregular breathing
  • Respiratory irritation
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Nausea, upset stomach
  • Eye irritation
  • Headache

5. Tank 3: Employers:

  • Must conduct exposure and hazard assessments at worksites to determine needs for:
    • Engineering controls
    • Respiratory protection
    • PPE
    • Monitoring device such as:
  • Multi-gas meter
  • Other direct-reading toxic gas meter (benzene)
  • Must provide training to workers:
    • Hazard Communication
    • Lone Worker Policy
    • Proper use of PPE and respiratory protection
    • Types, use, and limits of respiratory protection equipment as appropriate
    • Recognizing ignition sources
    • Tank gauging work practices/procedures
    • Emergency Response Plan
  • Procedures for alarm response and site re-entry
    • Use and limits of toxic gas or multi-gas meter(s) for O2, H2S, LEL, and CO
  • Should implement engineering controls such as:
    • Remote Gauging
    • Closed Loop Systems
    • Auto Gauging
    • Sight Glasses/Gauges
    • Remote Venting
  • Verify sub-contractors are following work practices/procedures

6. Tank 4: Use proper PPE to protect:

  • Head
  • Eyes, Ears and Face
  • Body
  • Respiratory Tract
  • Hands
  • Legs and Feet

7. Tank 5: Workers:

Your employer has established safety procedures for your protection including a Hazard

Assessment and Work Practices/Procedures

  • Follow your employer’s Hazard Assessment and established Work Practices/Procedures
    • Use toxic- or multi-gas meter provided by your employer as per your training
    • Heed all alarms
    • Stop flow into tanks prior to gauging when possible
    • Minimize leaning over open hatches – Stand away/upwind/crosswind when possible
  • Inversion/high humidity/ lack of wind could increase danger
    • Follow your employer’s “lone worker” policy
    • Allow tanks to ventilate after opening thief hatches
    • Evacuate unsafe work areas and report immediately
    • Know the limits of your respiratory protection as provided during employer training
    • Immediately report any health symptoms
  • Wear PPE as required/provided
  • Attend Hazard Communication Training
  • Be aware of potential ignition sources:
    • Static
    • Cell phones
    • Sparks from tools or metal objects
    • Open flames
    • Non-approved electrical equipment/devices
    • Ensure proper grounding/bonding
  • If you are not sure, STOP the job and ask!
  • Everyone has the right to STOP work that is unsafe.

8. Closing statement:

  • OUR LIFE can change in a SINGLE BREATH or with ONE SPARK.

9. Document logos

  • Alliance
  • AESC
  • National Steps

10. Disclaimer

Through the OSHA National Steps Alliance, this Tank Gauging Hazard Alert is for informational purposes only. It does not necessarily reflect the official views of OSHA or the U.S. Department of Labor. March, 2015.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace and workers have rights. OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. OSHAs On-site Consultation Program ( offers free and confidential advice

to small and medium-sized businesses, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. For more information, contact your regional or area OSHA office (, call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), or visit



Spike in Oil Field Deaths Come as Crude Oil Prices Fall

In March of 2015 the Wall Street Journal reported that the impact on oil worker safety is on the rise as crude oil prices plummet.  In their article, Oil Deaths Rise as Bakken Boom Fades, an alarming number of deaths in North Dakota causes pause as “at least eight workers have died since October 2014 in North Dakota’s oil fields, more than in the preceding 12 months combined”.

In a two-week period in January, two workers and the owner of a small oil-field services company died in three separate accidents. One incident included a fire and another involved, most likely, the  inhalation of poisonous chemicals. Safety officials also said there had been an unusual number of basic safety errors, including cases in which workers brought generators, space heaters, or other items that could spark fires into enclosed spaces which contained flammable vapors.

The article points to a few key reasons for possible reasons for the increase in fatal accidents across the Bakken oil fields: costing cutting measures, return to basic safety errors, inexperienced workers, and the reduction in labor..To read the full article go here:


2015 Officers’ Bios


Dennis Schmitz COSS, Chair

PEC Safety

Dennis has been in the Oil and Gas Industry for more than 15 years, in both the offshore and onshore environments. Dennis is a lifelong trainer with a specific focus on Safety. He is also a Construction OTI instructor through the University of South Florida. In 2013 Dennis moved from HSE Administrator to a Master Trainer position with PEC Premier Safety, a Louisiana based leader in Oil and Gas Safety.

 Dennis is also a Veriforce Third Party Evaluator for pipeline operations. Dennis has field experience in many aspects of the Oil and Gas Industry from Ship to Shore Cargo Inspector, to Pipeline and Roustabout activities. Dennis previously served for the MonDaks Safety Network in his capacity as Secretary and Co-Chair.


Patty Furuseth, Co-Chair

JACAM Chemical

Patty Furuseth is a Regional Support Coordinator for JACAM Chemicals. She has been with JACAM for over 5 years and has been in the oil and gas industry for 9 years. She holds an Associate in Arts and an Associate in Science from Bismarck State College. Patty has served in a variety of different capacities for JACAM, from Office Manager to Field Tech to Account Manager. Her administrative background and field experience have given her a unique perspective into the challenges faced by both employees and managers working to improve safety buy-in, education and awareness.

Patty served as past Secretary to the MonDaks STEPS organization, and is also a certified PEC Safeland Instructor and Smith Driver Trainer. She is proud to be part of the grass roots effort to change the safety culture in the Bakken play.


Teresa Van Deusen, Co-Chair

WPX Energy, Inc.

Teresa has been with WPX Energy for 7 years. Prior to her position as the Safety Specialist for the Williston Asset Team, she provided support to the Environmental Health & Safety team in the largest operation located in Western Colorado’s Piceance Basin sustaining over 2000 producing natural gas wells and multiple gas processing plants.

Teresa is looking forward to the challenges of making a difference in the safety culture in the Bakken.


Jenna Autrey, Secretary

JACAM Chemicals

Jenna Autrey is employed by JACAM Chemicals as a DOT Assistant. Jenna holds a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Phoenix, and an M.B.A. from the Keller Graduate School of Management.

Prior to working in the HSE field, she has been in management and served in the US Navy. While in the Navy she operated and planned for the overhaul of a naval nuclear power plant.


Jeremy Olson, Co-Chair

Enerplus Corporation

Jeremy Olson is a Health and Safety Advisor for Enerplus Corporation, an Oil and Gas Exploration Company. He is no stranger to safety or leadership. As an Army Officer he has learned valuable leadership lessons that would help him to succeed in a variety of operational and safety roles within manufacturing throughout the Midwest and South.

Jeremy is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point with a degree in Environmental Engineering. As an Army Engineer Officer, he has deployed overseas in leadership roles. Jeremy is also a certified Six Sigma Black Belt and Associate Safety Professional. Jeremy is a fourth generation North Dakotan, raised on his family farm near Arnegard, ND.


Lisa Smith, Events Coordinator

Exterran Energy

Lisa Smith is an HSE Specialist with Exterran Energy supporting both onshore and offshore operations. Lisa has been with Exterran for just over a year. Prior to that she was a consultant/trainer. Lisa is a certified PEC Instructor in Basic, Core and Basic 10, a certified H2S instructor, a certified Smith System Driving instructor, as well as an OSHA Outreach Trainer in General Industry.