Essential Oil & Gas Safety Equipment You Can't Live Without
Essential PPE required in Oil & Gas Industries
Industries are one of the most hazardous places. Working in such conditions requires the personnel to abide by safety regulations. PPE are different types of equipment provided to all the employees working in an industry to safeguard themselves from the potential risks & hazards. Oil & gas is one of the industrial sectors where safety cannot be compromised. It is considered one of the hardest industries to work in. Therefore, the personnel working require a few oil & gas safety equipment to protect themselves. In this article, we will be covering essential oil & gas safety equipment.
Why do you need oil & gas safety equipment in the first place?
Why is safety important in the oil & gas industries? What are the hazards & risks in the oil & gas industries?
Safety is essential for working personnel as well as the environment. The oil & gas industries have a ton of hazards & risks. It makes it one of the toughest places to work primarily due to the working conditions the working personnel is exposed to. It calls for a set of rules & regulations, which helps in the establishment of workplace safety. To ensure workplace safety, personal safety & process safety plays a vital role. According to OSHA, from 2003 to 2017, 1312 working personnel were killed in the oil & gas industries. The fatality rate of this industry is about seven times higher than the other US industries.
Personnel working in the oil & gas industries often come in contact with chemicals. These chemicals are often hydrocarbons & other gases which are known to be corrosive, highly flammable, and irritating. Moreover, there are many hazards unique to the oil & gas industries that include H2S (hydrogen sulfide) exposure, crystalline silica exposure, and flash fires.
H2S exposure can be fatal if the interaction is with a concentration of 500 ppm or more. Lower concentration exposures may cause dizziness, loss of consciousness, headache, coughing, eye damage, breathing problems, nausea, and other symptoms. Check out the hydrogen sulfide hazards in detail. Crystalline silica is a carcinogen. It may cause silicosis, which can be fatal. Flash fires are fires that reach high temperatures in a shorter duration. They usually last for two to three seconds and reach up to 1200 degrees Celsius.
Other hazards & risks in the oil & gas industries include -
- Mishaps & Accidents during operations like servicing, drilling, and others.
- Explosions & Fire accidents
- Vehicular movement
- Mishandling of tools, instruments, and machines
- Trapped in confined spaces
- Struck in an oil well or other risky places
- Falling from heights
Which are the essential oil & gas safety equipment?
Oil & gas industries consider safety as their topmost priority. The protection of working personnel is vital for any industry’s success. So, oil & gas safety equipment is provided to the personnel working in the oil & gas industries. They provide basic protection to these working personnel. The essential oil & gas safety equipment primarily includes the donning of PPE. Due to the use of PPE, oil & gas industries have become safer with the reduction in injuries & casualties. This improvement is despite the continuous involvement of dangerous chemicals, higher temperatures, complex machinery, and heavy equipment. PPE can be categorized based on the body part they protect.
You can also check out our blog on different PPE required in industries.
Head protection & Face protection - Hard Hats, Face Shields & Safety Helmets
Head protection PPE is necessary for protection against falling objects, electrical wires, and collisions with fixed structures & objects. They protect the skull of the working personnel. Wearing head protection PPE reduces the risk of major fatal injuries to the brain. Depending upon the hazard, different head protection PPE is used. There are various classes of these PPE. For example, class E hard hats are preferred over class C ones because the latter doesn’t provide any electrical protection. Face shields protect the entire face from flying debris, chemical splashes, and sharp objects. For welding & brazing operations, special helmets with face shields are donned. They protect from intense light, radiation, sparks, and flying objects.
Eye protection - Safety goggles & glasses (with side shields)
Eye protection PPE performs the vital task of safeguarding eyes from corrosive gasses & chemicals, intense light & radiation, dust, molten metal, and flying particles. Safety goggles with side shields provide extra safety against flying particles. Special types of safety goggles & glasses are used while working around hazardous chemicals & radiation.
Respiratory protection - Respirators
Oil & gas industries have continuous exposure to hazardous chemicals & gases. For this, special types of respirators are donned by the working personnel after they undergo proper PPE training & a fit test. The most common respirator used is the air-purifying respirator. These respirators filter the air and separate the harmful particles. In situations where oxygen is not available in plenty, special respirators with portable oxygen cylinders are used.
Hand protection - Hand Gloves
Hand gloves are required during certain operations like brazing, crushing, cutting, handling chemicals, and other such operations. Depending upon the operations, the material & design of the safety glove is decided. Leather & fabric gloves are used to protect against abrasions, cuts, dust, and heat. For protection against chemicals, specialty gloves are used, which are made of neoprene, rubber, nitrile, and vinyl. For more details, check out our blog on safety gloves.
Foot protection - Safety Shoes
The oil & gas industries involve the use of heavy equipment & complex machinery. They possess a great risk for the feet. Moreover, there can be a risk of extreme temperatures, electricity, falling objects, sharp objects, and collisions. So, wearing appropriate safety shoes is made compulsory. The most commonly used safety shoes are steel-toed safety boots with strong grip & slip resistance. For electrical hazards, insulated rubber safety shoes are preferred. For protection against chemicals, neoprene, or nitrile safety shoes are donned.
FRC (Flame Resistant Clothing) -
Flash fires & explosions are the most common hazards in the oil & gas industries. Catching fire is one of the biggest nightmares of a worker in this industry. So, it is a no-brainer that FRC must be donned by the personnel. The utilization of FRC is itself responsible for the reduction of the number of casualties in the oil & gas industries.
Free fall protection -
Working on heights involves the risk of falling. For the prevention of any injuries, due to slipping or tripping, free fall protection is essential. For a height above 4 feet, a body harness is mandatory for the worker. The body harness is connected to an anchor using a connector.
Essential oil & gas safety equipment is vital for the industry to maintain the safety of employees. PPE provided by employers should be certified by regulatory agencies. They must ensure that the PPE provided must be comfortable. PPE shouldn’t hinder the working capabilities of the personnel. Appropriate PPE training involves donning, doffing, storage, maintenance, and handling of the PPE. After undergoing proper PPE training, essential oil & gas safety equipment are ready to show their full potential.