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The Golden Rules of Enhancing Occupational Safety in Oil and Gas Companies

The oil and gas industry is one that generates phenomenon profits with typical pipeline pumping oil worth $3 million every hour. The industry predicts an increase in oil and gas demand of about 30% by 2035, with supply challenges expected if the industry supply remains constant. With increased explorations on new lands and offshore rigging activities, it is difficult to predict whether the amount will be sufficient to meet the surge.

As drilling continues, oilrigs become remote increasing the risks of ignitions, falls, and injuries. In addition, while most players consider the accidents inevitable, workers have the responsibility to prevent themselves from hazards that may endanger their lives. With numerous incidents reported over the last few decades, most companies are on the verge of implementing comprehensive strategies that focus on people and workplace improvements.

While some have failed to yield significant results, some have given immense benefits for the companies. Reduced worker injuries and explosions translate to higher efficiency and low cost of operation owing to the enormous costs associated with medical expenses and indemnity. Other than training and equipping them with adequate safety equipment, enforcing the set regulations comes in handy towards improving occupational safety for your workers.

It starts with providing your workforce with high-quality gear from oil and gas safety supplies such as FR shirts, FR pants, Basic Metacarpal Gloves, FR Rain trench coat, Retractable Web Lanyard, Shock Absorb Lanyard and Focus control Headlamp among others. Once the crew has the gear that suits particular working stations, training improves awareness especially when transferring them to parallel departments. Enforcing the following rules in your workplace pays dividends in reducing incidents:

Avoid shutting down operations without a written procedure

When an event occurs in a factory or a rig, you may be tempted to close down the machines and installations to evacuate the victims and perhaps reduce the level of risk. While it may work in some instances, some operations are too complex hence require clear procedures for successful closure. Attempts to stop such activities pose higher risks of faulting the systems and injuring the operators. If you are not an expert, consider following the written guide on how to go about the shutdown.

Accidents tend to cause induced incidents that often leave severe injuries to the staff. For this reason, the safety team needs to identify potential induced hazards; analyze them and device compensatory measures to prevent further occurrences.

Avoid exceeding speed limits

Like other factories, vehicles, cranes, forklifts and scissor lifts are necessary to enhance the logistics of the products. They too come with a substantial level of risk that increases if they are not used the right way and by experienced users. Based on the factory design, traffic rules, and sign posts guides the operators inside and outside the working station, and with most using the same pathways with your staff, strict adherence to traffic rules lowers accidents. They need to stick within the set limits to enhance the safety of the pedestrians.            

Always wear the appropriate PPE when at work

Oilrig installations and exploration expose your staff to onsite falls, falling objects, and faulty equipment incidents. It explains why the industry adheres to strict OSHA compliance requirements regarding workplace safety. When it comes to PPE selection, oil and gas safety supplies offer myriad of brands that not only meet ANSI specifications but also suits varying working conditions. They include Vizion Headlamp for Hard Hats, Ventis 4 Gas Monitors, FR coveralls with leg Zippers, FR Insulated Reflective bib overalls, and Five zero FR Balaclava among others.

Some workers may be defiant to change the PPE even when the new workstations demands different sets of PPE. It calls for management to ensure all employees comply with PPE requirements for every task and workplace.

Always Use the right tools

In typical oil and gas workstations, every job requires a set of tools and safety equipment. As the wells get deep, and workers move away from the assembly point, some find it tiresome to keep going for tools required to handle specialized tasks. Some may opt to improvise with the tools they have that may expose them to risks of injuries. It calls for the project leaders to ensure they have adequate storage space to avoid situations where workers cannot locate some tools.

Avoid walking below lifting machines when in operation

The fact that oil rigging and exploration involves complex machines means the setup is also complicated. During the installation and repairs, huge pipes and devices need to be lifted to the destination point. If there are loose parts on air, they are likely to fall down on the people passing under the cranes. Also, the lift is likely to fail and hence to expose the people working in the vicinity, hence the need to stay away from areas where mass lifting is in progress.

Work permits are necessary

With the main activities revolving around exploration, installations and repairs, every task needs a safety assessment before commencement. The only way to certify the evaluation is through a work permit that ensures the necessary features are in place to enhance safety. The permit shields the employers from blame if an incident happens. Major structural installations require impact assessments from the state departments to boost the security of the communities living in the Area.

Safe platforms for work at height

Working in areas exceeding six feet above the ground needs permanent or mobile platforms. The choice of the platform depends on the setting, as mobile platforms are familiar with areas where the tasks are not likely to recur. Permanent installations may be necessary if the functions occur repetitively to reduce the costs associated with the mobile lifts. Both platforms need a guardrail for the work to prevent falls if the event of a slip. The use of ladders needs to be restricted to access only as they do not have the required features to promote safety when conducting the activities.

Avoid entering confined space until isolation and atmospheric tests are done

At the height of offshore exploration and gas fracking, oil and gas workers have to deal with confined spaces and extreme weather. Working in deep-sea wells exposes them to extremely low temperatures that may be unfavorable for their health. It calls for a thorough test on the atmosphere and isolation before the team embarks on the tasks. Since the confined spaces come with poor lighting, adequate supervision gives you cover and guidance when access in dark places.

Since the wells involve a significant amount of excavation, the work permit needs to map out all the underground hazards. The map comes out of a comprehensive risk analysis have been done which guides in devising adequate precautions.

Instantaneous monitoring and predictive maintenance

Other than the human-induced hazards, faulty machines tend to expose workers to high levels of risk. In most instances, every company subscribes to a give maintenance regime depending on the kind of operations involved. Nonetheless, each system comes with a cost in terms of time and money to the company, hence the need to reduce the frequency. Some breakdowns translate to falling objects that could be fatal if they fall on the staff.

Real-time monitoring of the systems helps identify the damaged areas before the failures occur, which could avert possible injuries to the operators. Maintenance is done in advance preventing potential downtime and perhaps major repairs that are not only costly but also time-consuming. Nevertheless, it does not keep away the need for condition-based maintenance that relies on technology to measure conditions such as vibration, noise, and efficiency that could lead to total failure.

Michael Snyder
Michael Snyder