Oilfield activities involve several types of equipment and materials, all of which can pose a threat to the safety of workers. This makes understanding and mitigating hazards very important parts of operating on an oil rig.

READ: Workplace injuries, diseases & fatalities in Alberta in 2018

Here are some of the many risks of working in an oilfield and how to mitigate them:

Ergonomic Hazards

Working in an oilfield involves lifting heavy loads, working ways that are conducive to awkward body postures, and performing repetitive tasks, all of which might cause ergonomic injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and more.

Prolonged exposure to abnormal temperatures or vibrations further increases the risk of developing such injuries. This risk can be mitigated by providing proper training, good safety planning, and early identification of injuries.

Explosions and Fires

Fire risks are omnipresent in oil rigs, due to flammable gases, liquids, and vapours. Even a small ignition source—like a cigarette—can lead to fire accidents that could result in life-threatening injuries and damage to millions of dollars’ worth of equipment.

Therefore, it’s incredibly important to take safety precautions. Employees working in confined spaces or near flammable materials should always wear fire-resistant clothing. Moreover, they should always know where to find fire extinguishers,

READ: Fire Prevention for the Oil and Gas Industry

Some common ignition sources that can lead to fire hazard in oilfields include electric power tools, internal-combustion engine sparks, portable generators, welding operations, and cigarettes.

Machinery accidents

A large number of accidents in oil and gas extraction facilities are caused due to poor handling of equipment and machinery. This can be either due to human error or the malfunctioning of the machine.

Either way, it’s critical to make sure that workers remain safe during the operations. Accidents caused due to moving vehicles and falling equipment can be avoided by limiting access to working areas and maintaining effective communication.

Moreover, employees must be provided with protective gear and equipment to safeguard against dangers.

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