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Incredible Ways to Improve Safety in Oil and Gas Refineries

refinery with rainbow

Working in the oil and gas sector involves dealing with flammable chemicals, heavy equipment, and flammable gasses among others. It explains why all employers participating in the drilling, servicing, refining, and distribution of oil products are keen to achieve incident-free stations for their employees. OSHA sets the regulations that guide oil and gas companies in providing safety equipment and making necessary investments towards the drive.

In general, industry, most companies rely on comprehensive house rules that aim at curbing human behavior that is likely to cause accidents. While that appears to give results, it is reactive in nature as it draws most of the rules from previous incidents that may have cost company’s enormous sums of money. For this reason, preventing potential incidents remains vital towards enhancing workers morale and reducing costs and downtime involved when accidents occur in your firm. While one cannot wish away the possibility of accidents in the sector, it is possible to keep them to the bare minimum.

Considered a high-risk working environment, the oil industry is twice risky than the construction industry and seven times than the general industry. Lifting heavy loads, reaching overhead, bending, and working in awkward postures, and taking repetitive tasks increases the possibility of succumbing to job site falls and traps. On the other side, no other industry has made bigger strides in workers safety than those in the oil subsector.

It starts with identifying hazards in every workstation to develop protective strategies and equip your employees with the right gear. Regardless of the location, all workers in the oil and gas industry face the risk of fire explosions that may be hard to contain. It calls for companies to invest in FR protective gear such as FR button down shirt, FR cargo pant, FR coverall, FR Carpenter Jean, FR Reflective Rain Jacket and FR snap closure work shirt among others. The oil and gas safety supply deliver all orders excluding those destined for Hawaii and Alaska. On the other hand, you can achieve safe working environment through the following:

Enforce traffic regulations

In most instances, oil drilling happens in remote areas that need adequate logistical arrangements to transport oil products and staff from the rigs. The rise in these operations has made vehicle accidents one of the top causes of deaths in the industry owing to the time spent on the road. Poorly managed networks and inexperienced drivers are known to cause crashes at the finest opportunity.  Other than enforcing the ground rules, all drivers need to show a high level of competence at the hiring stage. Avoid subjecting drivers to long hours of travel that increases the possibility of fatigue and hence road carnage. It is imperative to get trucks that offer higher levels of occupant protection when the crashes occur while proper vehicle maintenance comes in handy towards enhancing workers safety.

Regular inspections

Based on statistics, more than half of all fatalities arise from workers being caught in or between hazardous equipment. The incidents can happen between moving vehicles, top drives, draw works, compressors, pumps, hoist blocks, conveyors, and catheads. If systems and machinery are not adequately maintained, workers risk falling equipment and piercing objects that are likely to cause permanent disability.

In line with that, management needs to design an all-inclusive inspection schedule that highlights the areas that need immediate repairs. Predictive maintenance helps in reducing the cost of maintenance, downtime and the cost associated with job site injuries. The inspection team needs to have a checklist of the specific areas that need checking to ensure the exercise is done efficiently. Also, the team ought to collaborate with the operators to enhance smooth adoption of the recommendations.

Training workers on using safety equipment

Upon employment, employees have to undergo training on the policies and safety regulations at induction. After induction, most are likely to delve deep into their roles leaving no considerable space for safety preparedness. In a bid to raise incidents preparedness, most firms invest in firefighting and evacuation equipment to reduce the impact of fire explosions.

While most are placed in convenient corners of the company, only a few of the staffs can operate the gadgets hence limiting usage to a selected group of employees. Each department other than the intensity of the incidents usually informs the number of authorized users. In such instances, firms stand to lose significant properties and workforce to incidents. Training a higher number of staffs makes it easy to contain emergency occurrences as they arise.

Monitoring hazardous gasses

Oil drilling yields dangerous gasses and chemical products that cause the potential risk of explosions. Higher levels of these components raise the risk of explosions, which calls for site inspections before commencing the work. The fact that the location is found safe does not translate mean Zero chances of change in concentration. Consider arming your technicians with respirators such as full Face respirators, disposable respirator, half mask respirator, and Moldex Particulate respirators.

Monitoring the presence of flammable gasses in the air comes in handy towards curbing fire incidents. Use combustible and toxic gas detection devices to track the changes in the components. In case the combustible gasses exceed 10%, OSHA recommends immediate stall on all the activities until the level goes to the acceptable range. Consider training your employees on how to operate MSA Altair 4x Gas monitor and Ventis 4 Gas monitors.

Ensure emergency response equipment is on site

It is one thing to invest in the safety equipment, and completely another to put them in the right place. Most of the losses in property occur between the period the alarm rings and the employees find the right equipment. Keeping the firefighting equipment in the right place is likely to increase the response time for the fire team, saving companies properties worth of millions of dollars. It starts with reserving convenient assembly points where the teams begin the roll call and hence the response.

Install alert systems

When it comes to operations in the huge companies, it takes the time to realize the events of another department. In the case of an accident, some of the employees are likely to understand when the firefighting trucks and ambulances arrive at the scene making them vulnerable. Emergency alarm systems and mass announcement programs help communicate dangers and evacuate all employees safely. Unlike the alarm systems, mass messages can be customized to express the precise routes and assembly points to prevent further injuries.

Test the workers preparedness

On the verge of improving safety awareness, industry players focus on strategies aimed at enhancing workers preparedness towards job site risks. While you could be thrilled by the level of training and safety equipment available, you might be surprised on your team’s unpreparedness. Working in safe environment lowers workers responsiveness towards emergency incidents leaving them vulnerable to falls, injuries, and burns. Visual signs and slides help convey current developments in safety and hence keep up with the industry requirements.

With a working alarm system and fully fledges safety equipment, it is vital to test the team’s ability to respond to emergencies as well as the use of these tools. Drills help measure the time it takes technicians shut activities and move to safety. In the state of panic, most workers are likely to express their natural behavior concerning evacuation routes and adherence to the signs. Consider scheduling safety drills a few weeks after significant training to measure the learning progress. As if not enough, it helps in measuring the support service providers’ efficiency towards handling potential injuries. How well the drill works depends on the ability for the principal players to keep it confidential from the rest of the teams.

Michael Snyder
Michael Snyder