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OSHA Tackling Safety Issues in Oil & Gas Industry

Posted By Arnold & Itkin || 18-Feb-2016

In 2014, 142 workers in the oil and gas industry were killed on the job, and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration believes the number will only continue to climb as the industry grows. As a result, the oil and gas extraction occupation is among the deadliest in the United States. To combat the hazardous conditions workers face, OSHA created a campaign called Step-Up for Safety.

Throughout February and March, OSHA will be holding events such as site inspections and safety trainings on work sites around the country. Their website includes information on oil and gas safety, educational materials, and alerts about the dangers of certain extraction activities. Two activities in particular—hydraulic fracking and manual tank gauging—have dedicated safety guides on the site.

The Dangers of Manual Tank Gauging

From 2010 to 2014, 9 workers were killed while checking oil and gas tanks manually. More than 2 deaths a year on average makes manual tank gauging an incredibly dangerous part of an oilfield worker’s job. Manual checking is outdated—the technology to monitor tanks without exposure to volatile chemicals already exists. OSHA hopes to push the industry to update its practices.

When workers gauge tanks manually, they open a hatch in order to take samples or measurements. This leaves them vulnerable to dangerous fumes, or even explosions when parts malfunction. OSHA urges companies to change their practices regarding manual gauging by retrofitting their tanks with sampling ports. They also suggest equipping workers with flame-resistant clothing and the necessary equipment to check tank levels without opening any hatches.

Arnold & Itkin supports any efforts to make the oil and gas industry, which provides countless jobs to hard-working Americans across the nation, more safe for workers. We hope OSHA continues to provide education and resources to oil companies in order to reduce (and hopefully eliminate) the high fatality rate that is seemingly endemic to the industry.

Categories: Industrial Dangers, OSHA

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