The oil and gas industry is crucial to the nation’s economic and industrial progress. It has led to the rapid expansion of production and significant growth opportunities in business. With the demand for oil and gas increasing, as well as the discovery of recoverable reserves, continuing expansion is projected for the industry.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), from 2003 to 2010, more than 823 workers in the extraction field suffered fatal accidents on the job. This rate is seven times higher than the number for all US industries.
Jobs in the oil and gas industry are fraught with safety hazards and adverse conditions that make the workers susceptible to injuries and fatalities arising from motor vehicle accidents, contact injuries, explosions and fires, falls, confined spaces, and chemical exposures.
To reduce or eliminate unfortunate incidents in the workplace due to these hazards, there are safety rules that should be enforced.
The first line of defense is the sound design of engineering controls. Anything hazardous in the equipment or processes should be removed or replaced. If this is not possible, the workers must be kept safe by isolating or enclosing the hazard.
Appropriate work practice and administrative controls should also be implemented, as the second line of defense. For instance, the use and communication of proper procedures, regular maintenance and inspection, work schedule and training, and good housekeeping, are all processes directed towards the maintenance of safety.
The last line of defense is the enforcement of wearing personal protective equipment while on the job.
Brian Alfaro is the founder and president of Primera Energy LLC, a previous awardee of the Eagle Ford Excellence for Safety Performance. Visit this blog for more discussions about the oil and gas industry.