5 Safety Practices in the Oil and Gas Industry

oil and gas safety industry best practices safe workplace

From 2008 to 2017, over 1500 fatalities occurred because of accidents in the oil and gas industry. 

The oil and gas industries have regulations because it can be so dangerous. Oil and gas safety has a growing importance in the culture of the industry as it continues to evolve and change with the times.

Preventing workers from being seriously injured or killed is one of the best ways to retain workers in the oil and gas industry. Those who don’t feel safe at their oil and gas job are more likely to leave or search for something else. Having to retrain workers can be a drain on resources, and the medical costs of injuries are astronomical. 


Oil and Gas Safety 

To protect those who work in the oil and gas industry, regulations have been developed over decades. These regulations promote a culture of safety and bring more awareness to the risks involved with extracting oil and gas.


1. Safety Signage 

Warning signs and other safety-related signs are all over oil and gas work areas. Knowing where danger is, and what kind of danger is present, can help people from becoming a statistic. These signs are bright and easy to see with large symbols or words visible from a distance. 

Communicating and training on what safety signs are and what they mean is an important part of this process. A sign doesn’t do any good if no one knows what it is saying. Another component to making sure this process works is to address the correct location of these signs. 

As with any oil and gas safety regulation, there are constant improvements and adjustments made to the policy. The number of signs that are required on a job site now is far in advance of what they were thirty years ago. 


2. Machine Maintenance and Upkeep 

One of the biggest safety practices in the oil and gas industry revolves around the equipment being used. Equipment failure can lead to catastrophic injury and even death. This is true of oil and gas operations anywhere in the world, but even more true for those working offshore. 

In order to help companies adhere to maintenance policies, OSHA even offers tools that can help. Depending on what kind of equipment and environment they are being operated in, there are regulations in place. These regulations ensure that the equipment is maintained in proper condition and working order. 


3. Personal Safety Equipment

For most who work in the oil and gas industry, safety equipment is not optional. Hardhats are worn to protect the head from falling objects and collisions. Safety glasses are worn to prevent eye damage from both flying debris and also from liquids such as oil itself. 

This practice is common in all areas of the gas and oil industry. In order to be compliant with regulations, personal protective equipment has to be available for anyone who is going to be working. There are also regulations about how much extra must be present in order to protect guests and visitors. 

Some job sites have additional protective equipment required. For those working in the field, that could mean gloves and weather dependent gear. If anyone is caught without their protective equipment, they are usually subjected to disciplinary procedures up to and including termination. 


4. Fire Prevention and Alarms

Whether you are working in a refinery or on a rig, preventing a fire is important. If a fire breaks out, you also need to be able to deal with the immediate problem. In any situation, a fire or other disaster can be a life or death situation, but in the gas and oil industry, it can be an issue for hundreds or thousands of people. 

There are mandated fire extinguishers for some work areas, and they are not all the same. Depending on what kind of fire hazard is present, the extinguisher will be tailored to address it. For many operations, this means having advanced foam and even integrated fire suppression systems. 

Alarms are a vital component of this process because they alert people to danger. Those who are not trained or in place to deal with an accident like a fire should evacuate. Removing those who could get in the way or be injured is vital in a critical situation like a fire on an oil rig or refinery. 


5. Vehicle Monitoring Systems

A lot of the work that goes on in the oil and gas industry involves operating motor vehicles. 

Accidents with motor vehicles is the main contributor to deadly incidents and injuries. Many companies now use monitors to ensure that safety procedures are being followed.

These can cover a range of areas, from semi-truck regulations that require drivers do not exceed a certain number of hours driving, to onsite heavy equipment handling. To prevent future data, information is often collected from these systems to improve safety procedures. 


Organization and Information Sharing

To stay on top of the changing and evolving safety and security regulations, it is helpful to share information. Attending events such as a connected plant conference can help companies stay ahead of the curve. Preventing the loss of life and financial impacts of injuries is essential to operating an ethical and profitable business. 

It is also vital that crews that work on a job site share knowledge with one another. Having briefings and informing others of issues that have come up is essential to preventing accidents. The more information that is shared, the safer your operation is going to be. 


The Price of Noncompliance 

In addition to the fines that can be levied by OSHA and other regulatory bodies, there is a substantial cost to human life and the medical bills associated with accidents. Protecting your company from this by adhering to strict oil and gas safety is a cornerstone of an effective strategy. 

When a single accident can end up costing someone their life or limb, the company is going to have to pay an enormous amount. Accidents increase the cost of insurance and other operational costs and can lead to additional safety regulations. Protect your workers and company at all times and reap the benefits of safety. 

If you found this article on oil and gas safety helpful, take a moment to browse around for other related topics you might enjoy. Visit the Law and Insurance section of the Bootstrap Business Blog for additional insights on work safety, insurance, workplace wellness, and employee protection.

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