Safety is always a primary consideration in the oil and gas industry and compliance with regulations combined with having a fire prevention plan and the knowledge, equipment and correct clothing for the job, are all necessary when there is so little margin for error.
Here are some essential fire protection insights and tips for anyone working in the oil and gas industry, including a way of identifying potential work-site vulnerabilities, how to protect against the threat of hazardous gases in the air, plus a reminder that fire and explosions are not the only viable threat to safety.
The importance of a safety audit
There are a number of proactive safety measures you can put in place such as issuing all workers exposed to a dangerous environment with fire resistant shirts, but you also need to ensure that the workplace environment is primed for fire safety.
Even if you believe that your company has taken every possible precaution and the site is ready to contend with a fire or some other dangerous incident you will need to carry out a safety audit to confirm whether that is actually the case.
A safety audit can often reveal hidden vulnerabilities at work sites and verify that the fire protection equipment, sprinkler systems, and other safety equipment are functioning correctly as part of the audit. Overal an audit will improve your safety profile and confirm that every step has been taken to provide the right level of safety.
When there is the potential risk of exposure to fires and explosions there is always the prospect of hazardous gases in the air creating a serious threat to worker’s health and safety.
It is always advisable to regularly monitor and check for the presence of gases and vapors by using combustible and toxic gas detection systems. OSHA guidelines suggest that any work in the area should be ceased if the detectors confirm that a flammable or combustible gas exceed ten percent of the lower explosive level.
Safety training for workers should include an understanding of how to check these levels and when to stop work if these readings reveal that it is unsafe to continue.
Other major hazards to consider
OSHA accident data reveals that about 60% of on-site fatalities in the oil and gas industry are not from explosions and exposure to fire but as a result of workers being struck by or caught- in-between hazards.
Moving vehicles, moving and stationary equipment and high-pressure lines are all major hazards that can prove to be just as dangerous to workers as the risk of fire.
Always aim to consider these potential threats when carrying out a safety audit and make workers aware of all the risks they face when working in such a dangerous and hazardous environment.
Training workers to use fire protection equipment and to be aware of all the relevant safety procedures will help to reduce the risk of a serious injury or fatality, and a regular review combined with practice drills could also make a discernable difference to the outcome when an incident occurs.