Welcome to ISHN’s third volume of feature articles and sponsored content pertaining to oil and gas industry safety. We believe that safety and health professionals in all industries can benefit and improve their safety and health programs, processes, and cultures by absorbing the best practices used in the highly hazardous oil and gas business, and the lessons learned through errors and accidents.
The oil and gas sector presents safety and health issues that thousands of EHS pros who have never set foot on an oil rig face on a regular basis. These include:
- Falls and the need for fall protection;
- Electrical safety risks such as arc flashes and blasts and the need for flame-resistant clothing;
- Ensuring that workers wear other personal protective equipment (PPE) such as respirators, steel-toe footwear, eye protection, hearing protection, and hardhats;
- Monitoring regularly for chemical exposures;
- Ensuring vehicle safety;
- Protecting lone workers and small crews in remote locations;
- Handling the stress of working long hours, continuous shifts, and the dangers of fatigue and sleeplessness;
- Handling worker substance abuse and the potential for violent on-the-job behavior – verbal assaults, bullying, intimidation, harassment, and physical assaults;
- Welding safety.
Safety and health professionals in the oil and gas sector deploy various tactics and strategies to protect workers that again, pros everywhere can learn from. Solutions to safety and health problems include:
- Toolbox talks
- Behavior-based observation and feedback
- Making “safety contacts” in the field with workers to prevent risk tolerance, complacency, and shortcuts
- Near-miss reporting
- Work stoppage until risks are mitigated
- Risk assessment
- Safety and health management systems with plan-do-act-review components
- Senior management’s active participation in safety and health practices
- Senior management investment in safety and health
- Constant communication and safety messaging
- Active worker input on safety goals, plans, and practices
- Effective safety oversight of contractors, short-term employees, and new hires
- Making use of the increasing array of OSHA, NIOSH, and trade association safety resources
ISHN thanks all the subject-matter experts who contributed articles; the ISHN staff editors who researched, analyzed, organized, and wrote concise, relevant articles; and the contributions of ISHN’s Construction eBook Volume Three sponsors. Particular thanks for volume-three content provided by the Texas Mutual Insurance Company. I’m sure you’ll find this eBook to be valuable in assessing safety and health practices and technologies in the oil and gas industry, and determining ways these safety and health solutions are transferrable to your workplace.
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