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Oil & Gas Industry Safety Programs

Proper oil and gas industry safety programs are required for this high-risk industry. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most hazardous industries in the world. This industry’s fatality rate was seven times higher than all other industries between 2003 and 2010. If you work within the oil and gas industry, it is crucial that you understand and manage its implicit hazards. By following proper safety programs and responding to warning signs on the job, you can create a more secure environment for all workers.

Hazards of Working in the Oil and Gas Industry

Here is a list of common hazards within the oil and gas industry: 

  • Miscommunication

This may seem obvious, but on-site accidents often occur due to insufficient communication between coworkers. If employees are not on the same page when it comes to positioning and procedure, especially concerning potentially lethal vehicles and equipment, then the likelihood of injury or death increases dramatically. 

  • Vehicle collisions

Often, worksites for the oil and gas industry exist in remote locations. Therefore, various vehicles are required for transporting workers and equipment to and from these worksites. Vehicle collisions are responsible for approximately 4 out of 10 deaths within the oil and gas industry, making transportation the most hazardous activity within the industry. 

  • Struck by/Caught in/Between 

Struck by/Caught in/Between accidents occur when a worker’s body part is hit, pinched, compressed, or pushed by either equipment or environmental components within the worksite. These kinds of accidents are especially gruesome, and they account for approximately 3 out of 5 on-site fatalities in the oil and gas extraction industry. Struck by/Caught in/Between accidents include collapsing materials, limbs pulled into unguarded machinery, and being pinned between equipment and environmental fixtures. 

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  • Explosions and fires

The oil and gas industry contains an inherent risk of explosion or fire due to the extreme flammability of its materials. Flammable gases, such as hydrogen sulfide, can leak from trucks, wells, or on-site production equipment in a rather insidious manner. Common ignition sources include open flames, cigarettes, lightning, welding equipment, electrical circuits, and frictional heat.

  • Falls

Falls are a common risk in any industry involving manual labor, but they can be especially dangerous in the oil and gas industry due to the height and precariousness of drill rig systems and requisite scaffolding. 

  • Confined spaces

Workers in the oil and gas industry often enter confined spaces such as petroleum storage tanks, mud pits, and reserve pits. Within these confined spaces, workers can risk exposure to hazardous chemicals and the potential ignition of flammable gases. 

  • Machine hazards

The heavy-duty machinery required for drilling, extraction, and servicing within the oil and gas industry contains risk due to the weight and power of the equipment. Machinery in the hands of an inattentive, untrained, or careless worker can be absolutely devastating to a worksite. Additionally, machinery must be properly maintained to ensure the safety of all operators and on-site workers.

  • Electric hazards

Workers face the risk of shock or electrical fire if equipment is not designed, installed, or maintained properly. 

  • Ergonomic hazards

Workers face the risk of harm to their bodies due to the lifting of heavy materials, as well as strenuous or awkward positions that may be required for various tasks.

Signs that you Need to Reconsider your Safety Programs

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If you have applied for industrial compliance certification and been rejected due to insufficient safety programs, then this is a sign for you to modify your safety programs. Even if your company has a satisfactory EMR, proper safety programs are essential for training new hires and ensuring all employees are on the same page.

If you have passed certification, you may still consider rewriting or modifying your safety programs after a workplace incident or injury. It is best to look at every workplace incident as something that could have been prevented with better training. Remember, it only takes a blind eye for a single incident to become a pattern. Keep thorough records of OSHA-recordable incidents and workers’ compensation so you can stay on top of safety trends within your workplace, and schedule frequent training programs to ensure all employees understand how to work on-site in a safety-minded manner.