Oil and Gas Extraction: Top 7 Dangers
Protecting workers from harm requires a thorough understanding of the potential dangers of oil and gas extraction.
Oil and gas extraction is an important industry contributing significantly to the world’s energy supply. However, this sector poses several risks to on-site workers, and its effects can be extensive and long-lasting.
Understanding and addressing these threats to the workforce is crucial to ensuring that companies produce and utilize energy resources responsibly and sustainably as the world’s energy needs continue to rise. This article discusses a few of the risks associated with oil and gas extraction, which management and workers should know and look to avoid.
7 Dangers of Oil and Gas Extraction
The extraction of oil and gas can pose several dangers to worker health, including the following seven risks:
Tricks, wells, and tanks can release several kinds of combustible gasses that can ignite when in contact with several potential fire starters, including the following:
- Open flames
- Static electricity
- Other heated objects
Explosions and fires are risky because of the activity on oil and gas extraction sites. Due to this, explosions and fires can spread quickly, potentially causing injuries to a large portion of the on-site workforce.
2. Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls constitute a substantial risk in the oil and gas business, despite not being as apparent as other risks. In fact, according to estimates from the Department of the Interior, slips, trips, and falls account for around 23% of worker injuries and 36% of fatalities in the oil and gas sector.
3. Hazardous Chemicals
Oilfield workers, in particular, come into close contact with several toxic chemicals, including the following:
- Hydrofluoric Acid
- Sulfur Dioxide
- Petroleum Coke
- Nitrogen Oxide
These hazardous substances are linked to several health problems like cancer, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular illnesses.
4. Equipment-Related Incidents
There are many massive and hazardous pieces of equipment on oil and gas extraction sites. However, they are necessary for various tasks, including but not limited to the following:
- Hauling piping
- Mixing mud
These pieces of machinery are substantial and weighty, and the consequences of malfunctions can be fatal. Heavy equipment on construction sites must be safe for workers, which requires regular maintenance.
5. Remote Location Work
Teams might perform exploration-related tasks at remote pumping stations and gas facilities. This workforce often comprises the following:
- Land survey teams
- Service teams
- Pipeline operators
Remote work is particularly risky to employees and contractors, who may have limited access to medical care or, in some cases, no other on-site workers to help in an emergency.
6. Heat Stress
Heat stress and related illnesses can present severe hazards to worker health and raise the possibility of other work-related accidents. Dizziness and confusion brought on by prolonged heat exposure make on-site personnel more prone to potentially fatal mistakes.
Frequent causes of heat exhaustion include the following:
- Operating in areas of high heat and humidity
- Experiencing prolonged exposure to direct sunlight
- Working in areas with insufficient ventilation is insufficient
- Wearing necessary but potentially heavy protective clothing
7. Confined Spaces
Oil and gas operations use confined areas like pits and storage tanks. Workers may come into contact with potentially dangerous or explosive chemicals when entering these settings, with limited means to exit quickly in an emergency.
Additional dangers include lifting heavy objects with little room to operate, which can lead to back or muscular injuries, hazards from electrical sources, and blowouts from high-pressure lines.
Keeping Oil and Gas Workers Safe Requires the Right Tracking Technology
Oil and gas extraction is a complex industry that presents a range of dangers to employees and contractors. From explosions to heat stress, the impacts of this industry are significant and far-reaching. However, by prioritizing safety and responsibility, you and your team can minimize the associated dangers while helping fulfill society’s energy needs.
However, doing so effectively means selecting properly insured contractors who are knowledgeable about safety procedures and have received the necessary training will help further reduce incidents and your liability in the event of an injury. A critical first step in this process is investing in digital solutions that track compliance with all the required laws and regulations to ensure that your contractors satisfy these requirements.