Occupational health hazards in the Oil and Gas Industry


The Oil and Gas industry is fraught with health and safety hazards, mandating industry players to implement best practices and continuously train their workforce. The purpose is to ensure occupational safety at all times.

One of the crucial operations of upstream oil and gas is well drilling, a service activity that involves potential health and safety hazards. Oil and gas wells release hydrogen sulphide (H2S), a toxic gas that can greatly impact workers exposed to it. Three best practices can help reduce exposure to the gas: good planning, active monitoring for hydrogen sulphide, and continuous training for the workforce. Workers exposed to this gas are prone to suffering from diseases of the skin, lungs, and other organs, depending on the length of the exposure.

Another occupational hazard in the oil and gas industry is the excessive noise level that oil and gas workers are exposed to in their field of work. As a result, they may also suffer from noise-induced hearing loss. Then again, working in a confined space for long stretches may lead to injury, especially for untrained workers, and sometimes even psychological issues requiring redressal.

It therefore becomes imperative for oil and gas industry service providers to ensure occupational safety and implement health risk management in order to identify and assess all safety and health issues at the workplace and also define and implement appropriate control measures for the overall safety of the workers.

Maintenance hazards

Apart from evaluating and fixing issues in project design and plant facilities, oil and gas companies also have to check oil wells and tanks regularly. As already stated, hydrogen sulphide poses serious problems in its storage and transport. So, cleaning these tanks is another major health hazard. Problems can manifest in the form of oxygen deficiency resulting from confined space or procedures such as oxidation or rusting. In addition to hydrogen sulphide, carbon monoxide can also be present, along with other chemicals and metals such as arsenic, carbonyls, and tetraethyl lead.

Identifying the health hazards

There are several techniques to address the health hazards, one of them being the Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) Study. This is a structured and systematic evaluation of an existing operation, with the aim of identifying and evaluating any potential hazards to health and safety. It is conducted by a team of experts, including engineers from different disciplines. The team evaluates the plant, well, or system from all angles to identify potential pain areas or any deviation from the intended operation against all defined safeguards. Apart from health and safety assessments, the experts also analyze the system for any consequences for the environment. They may recommend solutions that include additional safeguards or procedures, as they deem fit. Their findings also identify all the Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) issues that would need to be resolved before the workforce enters the well or plant.


As already stated, while a career in the oil and gas industry can be extremely rewarding, it is equally challenging and fraught with several occupational hazards. These usually manifest from working in confined spaces in remote locations and in wells where the danger of harmful chemicals, radioactive metals, and gases is ever present.

As a responsible oil and gas service provider, we at GET Global Group are aware of the occupational hazards of the industry in which we operate and place the health and safety of our personnel and the environment above all other concerns. We regularly train our personnel so that they are well-versed in the preventive measures and precautions they have to follow. Before they enter a well or plant, or before taking up maintenance work such as cleaning tanks, etc., we first ensure that the project areas have been thoroughly checked and all best practices followed.

Besides investing in the health and safety of our workforce, we also take care of their psychological health, given that they have to work for long hours and long stretches in remote and sometimes hostile terrain away from their families. We hold regular seminars and health check-ups to minimize these occupational health and safety hazards. Before sending our employees to the worksite, we ensure that they are physically, mentally, and emotionally trained for the job ahead, trained in all best practices, and aware of the regulations, both international and local, as mandated by the country in which the project is located.

Also Read: Outsourcing Strategies in the Upstream Oil and Gas Industry

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