The oil and gas industry contains some of the most dangerous jobs in the world, with a contractor fatality rate that is statistically higher than all other industries. If you work within the oil and gas industry, following proper safety practices can mean the difference between life and death.
Common Oil & Gas Industry Work Risks
- Explosions and fires: There is a high risk of explosion or fire due to the flammability of oil and certain gas (such as hydrogen sulfide). Dangerous materials can leak from trucks or wells and be ignited by open flames, cigarettes, welding equipment, and electrical circuits.
- Vehicle collisions: Most worksites for the oil and gas industry are extremely remote. Several vehicles are used to transport 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 for oil and gas workers.
- Falls: Falls are a common risk for any contractor, but they can be especially dangerous in this industry due to the height of drill rig systems and scaffolding.
- Confined spaces: Workers in the oil and gas industry commonly enter confined spaces (such as petroleum storage tanks, reserve pits, and mud pits) to perform various tasks. Within these confined spaces, however, workers risk gas explosions and entrapment due to structural collapse. Additionally, confined spaces may expose workers to hazardous chemicals.
- Struck by/Caught in/Between: These types of accidents are very dangerous, accounting for approximately 3 out of 5 on-site fatalities in the oil and gas extraction industry. Examples of struck by/Caught in/Between accidents include: limbs pulled into unguarded machinery, collapsing materials, and being pinned between vehicles and environmental fixtures.
- Machine hazards: When machinery is being used by an untrained or inattentive worker, the results can be fatal. In addition, all machinery must be properly monitored and maintained to avoid malfunctions.
- Electric hazards:Workers can be injured by shock or electrical fire if the onsite equipment is not properly installed, designed, or maintained.
- Miscommunication: If coworkers are not properly communicating, then there is always an increased risk of injury. By implementing proper safety programs and outlining a plan before the workday begins, you can ensure efficiency and a clear understanding of how, when, and where tasks will be accomplished.
Benefits of Industrial Safety Programs & Training
Developing thorough safety protocols that support and encourage safety culture within the workplace has many benefits. Safety programs that are geared towards your industry and your unique work environments help give your team the knowledge they need to perform their jobs safely. Frequent training that is easily accessible ensures everyone has the most current and accurate information.
Benefits of industrial safety programs and trainings include:
- Increased employee awareness
- Decreased injuries & illness
- Limits potential hazards
- Prevents jobsite accidents
- Promotes strong safety culture
- Boosts job productivity
- Ensures ongoing safety compliance
Oil and Gas Safety Programs for Certification
Oil and gas safety certifications require detailed safety programs for all contractors. There are many safety programs that your company will need to achieve industrial compliance in this industry, including:
- Scaffold User Training
- Fall Protection Awareness
- Air Monitoring and Gas Detection
- Fire Protection
- Fire Prevention
- Confined Space Training
- First Aid/CPR/AED
- Drill Rig Safety
- Vehicle Safety
- PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Use and Training
Benefits of a Safety Compliance Consultant
The use of a safety compliance consultant has additional benefits for contractors. Using a compliance consultant shows industrial qualification firms and potential hiring clients that you are operating in good faith. Contractors who work hand in hand with a third-party consulting company, show that a good faith effort is being put forth towards improving the safety of their employees.
State and federal regulations are constantly being reviewed and revised to address new concerns in regards to environmental responsibility, safety, and employee health. New equipment, new processes and new technology all create new opportunities for risk requiring new regulation and safety measures. Industrial compliance safety consultants monitor these regulation and certification updates for you. They keep your company responsible and responsive to industry changes while your team maintains focus on the job.
At Industrial Compliance & Safety, our professional team can help your company achieve compliance in the oil and gas industry. You can become certified by a variety of prequalification services, including ISNetworld® and Avetta®. If you choose to work with our team of safety compliance consultants, we will write custom safety programs that both satisfy your client’s needs and protect your employees from the many risks within this unique industry. Contact us to create a new program or update your existing one.
Warning Signs to Change Your Safety Practices
If you have failed the process of oil and gas safety certification, check your gap report to see if your safety programs affected your grade. If you lost points in this area, then you are failing to meet either national or client-specific safety standards. Most companies do not formally write their safety programs before applying for certification, but they should. Even if your company has a decent track record, documenting your safety programs ensures that all employees are on the same page, and it helps you communicate your on-site practices to potential clients.
If you have passed certification, you may still want to think about improving your safety programs after an employee injury. To prevent future problems, you should look at every incident as something that could have been prevented with better safety programs. It is so easy for one incident to become a pattern if you don’t pay close attention. Make sure you keep detailed records of OSHA-recordable incidents and routinely schedule employee training so that everyone remembers to work with safety at the front of their minds.