Working on an oil and natural gas site is dangerous and has a fatality rate that is more than seven times the rate of all U.S. workers.
Improper oil and gas safety including health hazards and dangerous conditions that can result in injuries and fatalities for oil and gas workers include:
- Being struck by moving equipment, such as material handling forklifts, as well as motor vehicle accidents, tools, and falling objects.
- Poor lighting.
- Being caught in pinch points (such as hammer union wings and hammers, pump iron, and racks).
- Falling from heights.
- Being struck by high-pressure lines or unexpected release of pressure (for example, mismatched or worn hammer unions, line failure).
- Fires or explosions from flow back fluids containing ignitable materials (e.g., methane) and other flammable materials stored or used at the well site.
- Working in confined spaces, such as sand storage trailers, franc tanks, and sand movers without taking the required precautions.
Workers are exposed to hazards throughout the oil and gas site preparation, drilling, well completion, servicing, and plug and abandon phases.
During site preparation, a grader or dozer may be used to clear the site, and an excavator may be used to open a pit or trench. The equipment operators could encounter uneven ground, which may cause the equipment to roll, buried pipes and cables, and unpredictable weather changes, which could expose them to lightning or severe cold weather.
When the drill is operational, material handling equipment, such as all-terrain forklifts are used to move materials and expedite the drilling process. OSHA requires that operators be trained to safely operate the equipment, including understanding:
- General hazards that apply to the operation of all forklifts (including fuel and battery handling).
- Hazards associated with the operation of particular types of forklifts.
- General workplace hazards such as lighting and surface conditions.
- Hazards of the particular workplace where the vehicle operates.
Another hazard – silica dust – is an ultra-fine, microscopic quartz material that becomes airborne during the drilling process. Although some job sites have methods for controlling the release of silica into the air, particles do escape. Silica is hazardous to individual’s health with prolonged exposure, according to OSHA. Where possible, use enclosed cabs or booths. Consider providing operator cabs and booths with HEPA filters and climate controls to protect workers from silica dust and environmental extremes on the oil and gas drilling sites.
Neff Rental provides equipment for all phases of oil and natural gas operations, from site clearing to site cleanup, as well as reliable 24/7 services and support. Contact a local Neff Rental branch at 888-709-NEFF, or visit www.NeffRental.com to find the closest branch to your next oil and gas drilling operation.
Image via: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_gas