Tackling the toughest oil and gas worksite hazards can get expensive – but the fines and lawsuits associated with accidents can be far more costly. Although the industry’s safety record continues to improve, operators and safety officers of oil and gas facilities must remain vigilant day in and day out to preserve the standards of inherently dangerous extraction work. Fire and explosions pose perhaps the most formidable hazards at any oil and gas worksite. But in such a hostile environment, where budget-sucking safety measures may negatively impact your earnings, how can you boost the bottom line and make the workplace safer for your employees?
Learn how technology can help keep your workers safe from fire and explosion, and your company in business.
Worksite Fires: An Explosive Problem
|Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.|
Environment and Energy Publishing reports that more deaths occur as a result of fires and explosions in the oil and gas industry than in any other. And the media attention surrounding events like the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion in 2010 – the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history – underscores the dangers not just to oil and gas workers, but also to those who live or work near drilling sites.
Some studies predict that the majority of new wells drilled in the next decade will require hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which allows drilling near more densely populated areas. Such predictions are heightening concerns over the potential impact of explosions near homes and communities.
Deepwater Horizon also triggered widespread reforms to offshore drilling regulation, resulting in more stringent oversight and expensive safety requirements for new and existing rigs.
Containing the Flames
Every outfit needs a robust fire prevention and control plan – one that includes both passive and active protection measures.
Passive protection systems are built in to your worksite and require no worker intervention to activate, like separating fire-risk areas in order to better contain flames. Active protection systems require worker response to initiate, like completing safety training for hazardous materials handling and storage.
Vigilance in inspection regimens is key to ensuring that both passive and active protection measures will work well in the event of a fire or explosion.
How can mobile technology help?
To ensure that stringent safety requirements are being met and all equipment is regularly inspected and repaired, organized and thorough recordkeeping is crucial. But cumbersome paper forms can slow down the inspection process. Furthermore, paper files are vulnerable to the elements and can deteriorate in harsh environments where rigs are located.
Enter mobile data collection apps, like the Oil and Gas Rig Inspection: Fire Protection, which allows a worker to access and complete safety documents and electronic forms from any mobile device – right in the field and even without network service. These make creating, maintaining, and recording data by inspection regimens easier and more accurate.
But recording safety data using mobile apps isn’t just convenient and accurate. It can also help reveal potential weak spots. Imagine knowing how often a valve outfitted with an auto-shutoff requires manual intervention. Being able to quickly access and have automatically tabulated data recorded during past incidents makes it possible to determine whether the same potentially hazardous factors are arising over and over again.
Want to learn more? Our new eBook, “5 Common Hazards in Oil and Gas Extraction and How to Address Them,” offers many more insights into how you can prevent fire and explosion at your worksite and keep workers safe.
What else is in this eBook?
- Insights into the most common oil and gas safety hazards
- Recommendations on how to take a big-picture look at the safety design of your rig or well and how to focus employee attention on safety training and equipment maintenance
- Tips for how to implement mobile technology to analyze and improve existing safety systems
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