Well drilling, extraction, and processing are all part of the oil and gas industry. This industry converts raw fuels into electricity and energy for homes, automobiles, and appliances. Not many people understand the risks involved with these processes. Here are five safety concerns for oil and gas industry workers that supervisors must know to reduce workplace incidents and promote a safer work culture.
Given the widespread exposure to chemical agents in the oil and gas industry, it’s no wonder that chemical hazards pose a significant risk to everyone involved. Commonly, this includes toxic fumes, corrosive agents, and various carcinogens. It’s important for every worker to wear their personal protective equipment when handling these chemical agents.
Ergonomic hazards also pose a rising threat to worker health and safety. Ergonomic-related injuries relate to heavy lifting, bending, overhead reaching, pushing, and pulling machines or heavy loads. Awkward body posture affects physical performance, and if workers aren’t careful, it can lead to serious harm. Supervisors can reduce ergonomic injuries through pre-planning, risk assessment, and early reporting of onsite hazards.
Physical hazards such as extreme temperatures, radiations, and loud noises affect workers’ visual and auditory safety. While earplugs, safety glasses, work gloves, and other personal protective equipment reduce onsite hazards, supervisors must take preemptive measures to reduce physical harm in the worksite. Perform regular maintenance on all machines as well as handling and equipment education for operators.
Another safety concern for oil and gas industry workers is biological hazards. Biological hazards affect all major industries—but in the oil and gas industry, exposure to various bacteria, viruses, and parasites risk workers’ overall wellbeing. The external environment in rigging and extraction increases exposure to these hazards which is why clean work conditions and personal hygiene are essential. Since workers work adjacent to each other, allow for social distancing and proper health measures to reduce sickness and germs. If anyone is sick on the job, send them home.
Psychosocial hazards are important to address. These include workplace violence, isolated worksites, extensive work hours, and fatigue. Workers must take their allocated breaks and lunches to reduce the chance of burnout or fatigue. Also, encourage a safe work environment. While the oil and gas industry typically requires long work hours in isolated fields or ocean rigs, it’s important to recognize the mental effects this work impacts. Consider onsite counseling to help alleviate worker concerns. Otherwise, provide incentives and vacation opportunities for those succumbing to burnout or work stress.
When it comes to workplace safety certifications for any industry, Industrial Compliance and Safety is the solution. We specialize in Avetta® safety programs designed for any major industry—such as the oil and gas industry—to reduce OSHA violations and create a safer work environment for employees. If you’re confused about Avetta® prequalification and regulatory requirements, call us for help. We’re here to help strengthen your safety culture all the while obtaining your highest possible grades.