Por Ron Burg
It’s not a big secret that big oil and gas companies are dangerous work environments. There are many elements and areas of the industry that are hazardous to employees. But, there are many jobs to be done within in the field. Plus, there are many skilled workers who are good at what they do and like what they do in the industry.
So, it’s vital that they know the precautions to take when they are facing a potentially hazardous work environment. With effective personal protective equipment or PPE hazards, as well as injuries, can be greatly reduced. Those workers who are brave and skilled enough to perform these jobs need to not only understand the risk but also know the safety procedures and make using of the correct PPE.
Know the hazards
There are potential dangers in just about every activity or job description you might have to do in the oil and gas industry. This is why it is mandatory for employers to conduct a hazard assessment of the work environment in order to assign the proper PPE. The assessment should identify all hazards whether physical or health related.
Some dangerous work related activities your might encounter include:
o Exploring drill sites
o Erecting lease tanks
o Building well foundations
o Chemically treating wells
o Hydraulically fracturing wells
Injuries from these types of activities include but are not limited to:
o Slips and falls
o Hand and eye injury
o Hearing loss
o Exposure to harmful chemicals, gases, vapors and fumes
Understand the requirements
In the United States, OSHA requires oil and gas companies are responsible for ensuring their employees, visitors and contractors all have access to the correct PPE and are properly trained in how to correctly use them. Companies are also supposed to perform inspection and provide the correct PPE for the right hazards (based on the assessment.) This needs to be done each year, in the event any new hazards or PPE are needed.
Based on the general PPE requirements, employers should provide protection for these areas:
Employers should do this by providing the right PPE, based on the specific hazards, such as:
o Face shields
o Hard hats and helmets
o Protective clothing
o Respiratory devices
Know the advancements
Advancement and newer models have made PPE more comfortable and easier for workers to use. Many times a worker has to remove and reapply various gear and equipment throughout a day. Any model or brand that makes this even a little easier or more comfortable will increase the efficiency of taking PPE on and off.
Not to mention, ill-fitting or irritating PPE will not just cause the employee discomfort but also increase the risk of injury. So, it’s important to be aware of all the advancements and the range of different protection in order to use the equipment that works best and provides the most protection.
While there are several different fields that involve hazardous work environments, there are specific dangers that oil and gas workers need to protect themselves from. Below, are the PPE recommendations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA.)
As a note of caution, before you wear any of the below items to work, you have been instructed on how to properly wear them. Also, be sure to inspect of any breaks, frays holes and cracks. Damages like those can comprise the safety of your equipment.
When you are working with mixed materials such as mud and chemicals tighter, be sure to wear safety goggles, gloves, long sleeves and respiratory protection. If you happen to work with lime or caustics wear a face shield and protective clothing in addition to the aforementioned items.
When you are welding, always be sure to wear heat-resistant welding gloves and a helmet made specifically for welding. Welders are exposed to a verity of different hazards such as burns, shocks, respiratory risks and radiation so it is vital that your protective gear is made specifically for welding.
Many rig workers are exposed to noise hazards and, therefore, need to wear hearing protection from either muffs or earplugs. If you are using earplugs, be sure that you and everyone in the crew is trained on how to properly put them in. When worn incorrectly, damage can still occur and even exposure to extreme noises for a short period of time can seriously (and permanently) cause damage to your hearing.
- Confined spaces
It is important that if you are working in a confined space, that you test the atmosphere of the area before entering. Do this with gas monitors, alarms or other necessary instruments. Also, you may need ear protection if the small space amplifies noise from any tools or equipment.
- Sharp, flying and falling objects
Hard hats, hard-toe work boots, eye protection and gloves should be worn to reduce or prevent bodily injuries from sharp, flying and falling objects.
in http://www.oilandgasiq.com, 10 Fevereiro de 2016