The oil and gas industry is considered a high-risk industry and not without reason. The risks are not just limited to the use of chemicals but are integral to all activities of exploration, processing of highly explosive and flammable materials and production, requiring use of complex machinery, heavy vehicles and other systems. Added to these is the fact that the Oil and Gas Sector requires huge investments with long payback. In terms of geography, the wells and excavation sites are situated in remote locations, with each location adding its own unique set of risk and safety challenges. Therefore, the risk involved with this industry must be made clear to anyone looking for Oil and Gas Jobs or who is interested in Oil Field Training.
Here, in this article, we look at some of the more common risks and safety challenges associated with the extraction activities of the Oil and Gas Industry.
Vehicle Collision: The extraction processes require frequent transfer of workers and equipment to and from the well sites. These wells are mostly located in remote areas that require traveling long distances. Reports suggest that highway vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of oil and gas worker fatalities.
The Caught-in Between Safety Hazards: Three out of five causalities in the extraction process of Upstream Oil and Gas Industry can be attributed to what is known as the caught-in/caught-between, and struck by hazards situations. As is clear from the terms, these risk and safety hazards can result from multiple sources, such as falling equipment, moving vehicles or equipment,and high-pressure lines.
Fires and Explosions: Workers at the Oil and Gas Industry well sites are faced with the risk of fires and explosion due to the ignition of flammable vapors, well gases and hydrogen sulfide. Apart from the wells, these gases can also arise from production equipment or surface equipment such as shale shakers trucks and tanks. The sources of ignition can include open flames, static, electrical energy sources, cigarettes, lightning, hot surfaces, cutting and welding tools, and frictional heat.
Falls: Sometimes, oil and gas personnel have to work with equipment and platforms located high on the ground. There is always the associated risk of falling from the drilling platform, mast and other elevated equipment.
Confined Spaces: Oil and gas personnel have to often work in confined spaces such as mud pits, storage tanks,sand storage containers, confined spaces around a wellhead, pits and other excavated areas. Risk and safety hazards in these areas can manifest in the form of exposure to hazardous chemicals and atmospheric hazards that may lead to asphyxiation. Therefore, these spaces have to be tested prior to entry and continuously monitored.
Injury Risks: Oil and Gas Industry workers may face injury risks from reaching overhead, working in difficult body postures, bending, pushing and pulling heavy loads, and repeating the same tasks again and again. Pre-task planning, proper material placement, using of the right tools are just some of the ways to prevent ergonomic risk and safety hazards associated with the Oil and Gas Industry.
High Pressure Lines: The oil and gas personnel may also be exposed to risk and safety hazards from equipment and high-pressure lines. There could be the danger of pipe leaks or line burst exposing workers to the hazards resulting from compressed gases.
Energy Faults: Another risk manifests from mechanical, electrical, hydraulic energy if the equipment is not properly designed, installed, and maintained.
Machine Hazards: These hazards may arise from working with wellhead equipment such as compressors, draw works, cat heads, belt wheels, pumps, hoist blocks, and conveyors.
Hazardous Gases: Working in the oil and gas industry is associated with an often-underestimated hazard. Hydrogen Sulfide, a toxic gas, which can unexpectedly occur during routine work. Since H2S is at the occurring high levels a life-threatening, corrosive and flammable gas, the exploration and operation of such fields has to be undertaken under very strict safety precautions, when working oil and gas offshore jobs.
Planning and Prevention
As said above, the oil and gas industry is a high-risk industry. Here, in this article, we have specifically looked at the associated risks of the extraction processes of the upstream sector. Transportation of personnel to and from wells and the tasks within and outside the well and the excavation sites are not without their perils. As a responsible Upstream Oil and Gas Service Provider, we at GET Global are committed to follow the best practices and meet regulatory compliance at the global level and as also the local mandates. As oil and gas experts, we work with our client partners to evaluate the hazards at the worksite and plan safety protocols. We have developed and implemented safety practices for.
- Chemical handling; exposure
- Confined space evacuations
- Chemical storage
- Equipment/machine hazards
- Electrical work
- Emergency response
- Fire protection
- Fall protection
- Personal protective equipment uses
- Power sources
- Working in the heat
- Working in long shifts
Aside from this we also ensure that our oil and gas personnel are equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE). Our people are trained and updated to the latest risk and safety practices at all times.