You might have read or heard the phrases like:
Drilling for oil and gas reserves is most dangerous profession-Time Magazine
Explosion in oil rig killed 11 people and damaged marine environment in the coast of Louisiana
Hurricane Katrina created extensive destruction to oil platforms in Gulf of Mexico
Since 2008, around 823 oil field workers were killed on job
After reading these phrases you may think: Is it safe to work in offshore oil rigs/installations?
It’s not so easy to answer this question.
This article focuses on safety as well as risks that are involved working in oil and gas installations and provides a conclusion for the above question.
Incidents in oil & gas installations are rare, but when they do happen they are catastrophic. In terms of dangerous/risky jobs, working in oil rigs/platform stands top of the list. It’s true that the risk involved is huge and unavoidable in extracting, processing and transporting oil and gas in offshore locations. These risks are involved:
Vehicle accidents while traveling to and from the installations.
Working in the vicinity of highly combustible materials.
Falling of equipment from cranes.
Caught In between huge machinery.
Fires and explosions.
Working in confined spaces.
Malfunction of equipment’s.
Exposure to chemical vapors and liquids.
Rough weather conditions.
Extreme fatigue from working conditions 28 days/12 hours a day.
Oil exploration is a risky business and that is what the industry has to deal with. Often small incidents do happen. The probability of happening above risks is very low but if happens they leave a huge impact on man, material as well as environment.
Always risks are associated in this kind of job so, it is mandatory to set the guidelines that build a safer and secure work place by eliminating these risks. Following associations provide guidelines and standard industry practices in assessing, preventing, and controlling these risks in oil industry protecting workers from accidents, injuries on site.
International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) compiled the contributing factors for the accidents in oil and gas industry and almost all such factors are preventable. These include:
Lack of knowledge on assessment of potential hazards and risks involved.
Lack of training in operating critical equipment’s
Improper or not using proper personal protective equipment (PPE)
Improper use of equipment, tools and materials.
Lack of emergency warning systems and safety devices.
So it’s the turn of oil exploration and drilling companies to implement the best and safe practices by conducting regular safety audits on site. This includes implementing standard operating procedures and safe work practices, regular checking of machinery, checking safety equipment, conducting awareness programs and drills, personnel training and performance, emergency planning and response. By making working environment safe, by reducing these incidents, leads to more productive and profitable drilling operations.
It’s a good practice to spend some quality time on safety tools and policies which will pay off by preventing accidents, continuous oil and gas production and most importantly, loss of human life.
Risks involved in these jobs are obvious and they are like shadows which follow you all the time. There is a narrow gap between the risk and the accident. If the safety precautions are not followed accidents will occur and they occur without warning. Therefore, it is essential to be focused all the time while on a rig. These drilling companies have to study and implement lot of programs to mitigate the risk. The end goal is zero accidents. It can be concluded that working in oil installation is very risky but surely not unsafe as long as everyone follow and implement the safety standards.