Keeping employees safe on the job is crucial no matter what industry you work in. However, some industries are more dangerous than others, particularly the oil industry. Between working in dangerous conditions and handling heavy, difficult-to-use equipment, there can be a lot of ways an oil industry employee can get injured on the job.
Managers in the oil industry have many options to ensure the safety of their employees. Let’s take a look at a few common situations that may result in injury, and what can be done to prevent a dangerous condition.
Slips or falls
Slips and falls can occur in just about every industry, but slipping in an office usually doesn’t have the same consequences as slipping on an oil rig. Researchers at OSHA found that 52 percent of fatalities involved falls from heights greater than 30 feet. Because there may be dangerous equipment around, or the employee may be working on an elevated surface, slipping and falling in the oil industry can often have more serious injuries than in other industries.
To avoid slips and falls from occurring, ensure spills are properly cleaned up immediately after they happen. Make sure employees put away tools and equipment when they’re not in use, and that employees have clear walking paths that are free of debris and other items they may trip over. It’s also important that the walkways and stair treads are made from materials that can withstand the weather, corrosion, and other elements. Since workers are constantly working on elevated platforms, it’s important that they are reliable.
Explosions and fires
Fires and explosions can be a serious threat in the gas and oil industry. When working in such sensitive conditions, it’s important each employee knows what to do if a fire or explosion should start. Having proper training on how to handle a fire, as well as clearly explaining where fire extinguishers are located on site, can prevent fires from spreading.
In addition to knowing what to do if there ever is a fire, employees should also be trained in how to prevent fires and explosions from happening in the first place. Knowing how to properly handle explosive materials is important for employees in the oil industry. Equipping employees with fire-resistant clothing can prevent injuries from occurring.
Falling, moving, or swinging equipment
The equipment, vehicles, and tools used in the oil industry are pretty heavy-duty. This can cause some seriously hazardous work environments, especially when employees aren’t aware of their surroundings. When employees get lazy, walk where they shouldn’t, or use equipment incorrectly, this can cause injuries.
Employees getting struck by or caught in between equipment frequently occurs in the oil industry. However, these kinds of accidents are largely avoidable. Be sure that employees know where they are allowed to walk and where might be too dangerous. Also ensure that those operating equipment and vehicles are carefully trained in the proper way to do so.
Exposure to chemicals
Chemicals used in the oil and gas industries can also cause injuries or create dangerous conditions for employees. Not only can improper handling of these chemicals cause serious conditions for the entire team, such as explosions, it can also create long-term health risks for employees, even after they’ve left the job. Pipeline operators and crude oil shippers are at an increased risk of hydrogen sulfide, H2S, exposure. This can lead to paralysis, leukemia, cancer, or death.
It’s important to train employees on the proper way to handle any chemicals they may come into contact with. It is also important to ensure that those chemicals are properly stored on site. Also, provide employees with the right equipment and tools needed to handle those chemicals.
Ensuring employees are safe comes down to giving them the right training and attention. When equipment is not well-maintained and employees don’t know how to properly work with it, you may find that your team is getting injured more frequently. If you’re a manager in the gas and oil industries, you want to guarantee your employees know exactly what they’re doing.
This article was written by Megan Ray Nichols. If you enjoyed this article, please visit her page Schooled by Science.