One of the most hazardous jobs is working on an offshore oil rig. Oil rig injuries occur despite the most careful situations. There are numerous occurrences of falls, fires, explosions and deaths on oil rigs. Oil rig injuries do not occur in Nigeria alone. In the global oil and gas industry, the rate of workplace deaths that occurred during activities for oil and gas operations is 62%.
The international oil and gas industry has adopted the “safety first, job second” culture to reduce the rate of accidents and fatalities on offshore oil rigs. If you’re looking to significantly lower your risk of oil rig injury, here are 10 safety tips for offshore oil rig workers that can help.
Cultivate a “Safety First” Mindset
Prioritising safety should be forefront in the minds of the rig manager, supervisors, and most importantly, the workers. Regardless of their position, upholding a safe environment should be instilled into each rig worker. This includes strict adherence to standards that may prevent possible hazards. Also, ensure your staff know what to do in cases of accidents such as fire outbreaks.
Oil rig contractors, subcontractors and executives should follow the guidelines for a safe work environment. If they commit to safety procedures, workers will emulate their footsteps.
Collaborate with Local Emergency Response Community
Develop a relationship with local emergency response organisations. Handle emergencies swiftly through arrangements with first responders, rig hands, health professionals and local emergency response communities.
Discuss the most common hazards and determine how best they can help in cases of emergency. If possible, take them on a tour of the drilling site and highlight efficient ways to handle an emergency. Both teams should work together and utilise their resources in the event of an emergency.
Set up Training Sessions for Workers
Workers need regular training on current safety policies in the oil and gas industry. Therefore, ensure your workers attend regular oil and gas safety training.
Partner with top petroleum skills outfits to provide necessary onsite or offsite training for your workers. Your dedication to safety will rub off on your workers and help them make more conscious efforts to keep the work environment safe.
Carry Out Standard Site Maintenance
The floors, passageways and corridors should be cleared to avoid struck-by hazards. Fluids that may drip on the floor of the rig during pipe handling operations should be cleaned up. Display signs to direct workers to the necessary tools which can be used in cases of emergency. Ensure all areas with higher rates of falls and spillage are equipped with spill kits.
Actively Monitor Mental Health of Workers
Research conducted on oil rig workers in 2014 revealed masculine work cultures caused men to internalise their feeling of exhaustion and stress. Their physical and mental health hangs by a thread until it’s too late.
Eliminate the “tough guy” stereotype typically associated with workers in the oil and gas industry. Promote a transparent and open environment through training techniques and team exercises. Male oil rig workers find it easier to ask for help when the work environment promotes a sense of community.
Wear Personal Protective Equipment
Qualitative protective gear is essential to avoiding injury. Workers must wear compulsory personal protective equipment. This includes steel boots, safety goggles, hard hats, hand gloves, and fireproof outfit. Many workers do not wear some of their protective gear because it makes them uncomfortable. Insist on them wearing it or they do not enter the site. It is better to be uncomfortable than to suffer an accident.
Reward Reports about Safety Concerns
Encourage employees to report safety concerns and reward them for their efforts. Management should take these reports seriously. It is easier to cultivate an atmosphere of safety-first when employees can report hazardous conditions without the fear of punitive measures.
If the report includes a safety hazard, work must stop. Although this might seem counter-productive, protecting an employee from a dangerous condition supersedes production.
Install an In-Vehicle Monitoring System (IVMS)
Motor vehicle accidents account for the highest number of fatal incidents in the industry. A recorded 40% of oil and gas workers killed on the job were as a result of a highway vehicle incident while transporting to and from wells. Monitor driver behaviour to analyse poor driving habits. It helps you ascertain what to do in order to increase the productivity of your drivers.
Regularly Communicate Safety
Hold frequent safety talks for your teams. Safety measures cannot be over-emphasised. Organise lectures and use small interactive groups. Encourage them to ask questions. Publish the latest safety procedures and distribute them as compulsory reading material for staff.
Keep Machinery Well-Maintained
While working on offshore rigs, it is of utmost importance that machines are in top shape. To avoid untimely breakdown and keep your workers safe, conduct regular maintenance machinery checks.
Convey the significance of inspection and maintenance to your workers. Proper maintenance prevents the sudden breakdown of the machinery that could potentially cause hazards. Fix or change faulty or weak machines immediately. Implement a health and safety programme that includes occasional examination, tests and quality control processes.
Safety consciousness is one of the most important aspects of working on an offshore oil rig. Most of the accidents that occur in offshore rigs are preventable. Implement these guidelines to reduce the likelihood of accidents on your next oil and gas project.