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How the oil and gas industry can improve health and safety

The oil and gas industry is a widely reported sector for a plethora of reasons. Unfortunately, these offshore environments are very high-risk, with workers regularly suffering serious or fatal injuries. From working with extremely dangerous substances to working at height, there are several factors that add to this risk. But what is the industry doing to help with this and how can they be reduced? Here’s what you need to know.

Why health and safety should be a priority

Petroleum can be an extremely hazardous substance. And the surrounding mechanics involved when extracting it on offshore bases only add to the danger surrounding this industry. With this in mind, it’s crucial that workers in this industry are as protected as possible from the risks that can arise.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) outlines the details of offshore health and safety law, as well as the steps that should be taken to help reduce risks in this environment.

Top safety hazards

Key hazards in this industry include:

  • Fires: There are numerous flammable substances in these areas, meaning there’s a high risk of fire.
  • Explosions: Flammable substances can also lead to explosions, as well as fires.
  • Vehicle collisions: This is one of the most common types of injuries in oil and gas worksites.
  • Falls from height: It can be extremely dangerous when working on high platforms without the correct safety equipment.
  • Struck-by, caught-in or caught-between: Another common cause of death in this industry, getting caught between falling or moving equipment such as cranes or being hit by vehicles are very real risks.
  • Being in confined spaces: Storage tanks and pits are common in these environments and being in these spaces can expose you to dangerous chemicals

How tech is improving health and safety

The oil and gas industry is extremely lucrative, which means there is scope to invest in game-changing technology to help reduce these risks. Traditional safety methods could include anything from hoists to help move heavy objects or loads to wearing the correct PPE, such as helmets or safety glasses. Many are already putting changes into action.

Meanwhile, many businesses use real-time safety monitoring systems to observe the site thoroughly and improve security measures. Data is collected and monitored and automation is put in place to help improve existing systems. The benefits include the fact that workers can communicate more effectively to inform others of any dangers.

Having a real-time monitoring system also aids the long hours that are worked, adding additional security onsite. Management can stay aware of what is happening on site, with regular updates on the tasks being carried out. Systems and equipment like hazard cameras can also be used to flag risks to other workers before anyone enters this area.

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