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Oil Rig

Safety First for Oil and Gas Workers

If you work in the oil and gas industry, you know your job has built-in dangers. In fact, out of 120 workplace deaths in the mining, oil and gas extraction industries, 74 occurred in oil and gas operations. That’s according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Heavy equipment is a particular concern in this industry. Three of every five on-site fatalities occur because someone is struck by or caught in between hazards, according to the OSHA IMIS Database. Other industry specific concerns include vehicle collisions, falls, explosions and fires, chemical handling, confined spaces, machine and ergonomic hazards and more.

Practicing safety first can be lifesaving, whether you are a worker, a supervisor or a leader within any organization. Some general tips which can help improve safety for all include:

  1. Build worksite familiarity. Know the hazards and safety precautions before work starts, as well as individual roles.
  2.  Keep it clean. Reduce the risk of falls and slips by keeping floors and pathways clear and free of hazards including spills.
  3. Use the gear. Protective equipment is essential, including eye and face protection, head , foot and hand protection. Wear the appropriate gear every time.
  4. Spell it out. Clear signage helps communicate dangers and safety instructions. Replace signs that are hard to read due to wear and fading. Constantly reassess signage to make sure information is accurate and helpful. Make sure wayfinding signs accurately warn, direct and protect workers.
  5. Take the wheel. Approximately four out of 10 on-the-job deaths in this industry are due to highway vehicle crashes, according to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Many companies install in-vehicle monitoring systems to monitor dangerous habits and behaviors.
  6. Keep it maintained. Machines need regular maintenance to prevent failure and safety issues. Conduct regular maintenance checks.
  7. 7. Mind the details. Don’t overlook minor accidents or small concerns. Without attention, these can become big problems.
  8. Talk, talk, talk. Communicating helps everyone better understand where risks exist. Talk about what areas make workers uncomfortable and work on solutions.
  9. Connect before emergencies. Invite first responders for a tour of the worksite. Share information about specific health and safety hazards that exist onsite.
  10. Prioritize mental health. In an industry where “tough guy” stereotypes abound, it’s important not to internalize or stuff down stress and exhaustion. Make it okay to admit mistakes, seek advice or ask for help. Many companies invest in safety programs that dedicate time and resources to employee safety. These help establish planning and prevention steps to evaluate hazards at the worksite and develop and implement safe practices for workers and contractors. Additional source for material:
Oforiwaa Boateng, FNP-C
Oforiwaa Boateng, FNP-C

Oforiwaa Boateng-Holland, FNP-C is a pediatric provider with CHI St. Alexius Health.

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