The 6 Most Common Incidents In the Oil and Gas Industry

The oil and gas industry has many dangerous jobs. With the challenges of weather, remote locations, the materials and equipment used, and the physicality of the job it’s easy to see why it’s one of Canada’s most hazardous industries. By implementing a safety manager and EHS software, companies streamline operations and reduce risk for its employees. Whether workers suffer from fatigue or are victims of an unforeseen circumstance, there are many factors that can go into a workplace death. Learn the 6 most common incidents in the oil and gas industry and how they can be avoided.

1) Vehicular Accidents

Driving, according to a report by InfoPlease, is the most dangerous form of transportation. When you factor in the conditions and roads in which the gas industry operates, it’s no surprise that vehicle accidents are on the top of this list. Drivers are consistently challenged with heavy loads, varying weather conditions, and other unpredictable elements. A large contributing factor to this is driver fatigue. Long shifts, physically demanding duties such as heavy lifting, and being a lone worker all contribute to signs of exhaustion and fatigue. When we’re tired, we’re more likely to make small mistakes or skip safety steps to save time. Vehicle accidents are preventable with the help of safety manager software. Employers can track drivers, and drivers can send updates for clear communication even when they’re offline.

2) Being Struck By or Getting Stuck

Getting hit by something or getting stuck somewhere are both high on the list of common incidents in the oil and gas industry. Things like moving vehicles, equipment, and falling equipment have a hand in these accidents. Lone workers are especially vulnerable to these incidents due to their remote locations and lack of support. This lack of support is easily rectified with proper safety management software as employers can identify risks and communicate with workers in real time. The oil extraction process can be treacherous, trench cave-ins are a common risk in the oil and gas industry where workers can easily become stuck between materials. According to,

“In the first five months of 2017, 15 deaths and 19 injuries related to trench and excavation operations have been reported nationwide.”

With Workaware’s EHS software, managers have the ability to track patterns and trends within a task and identify potential hazards. Though we recognize that accidents do happen and with the unpredictable nature of an extraction site things like cave-ins are not foreseen. Having a quick emergency response saves lives which is something our safety manager software provides.

3) Explosions and Fires

“The oil and gas industry has more deaths from fires and explosions than any other private industry,” according to EnergyWire review of federal labor statistics. The National Fire Protection Association states that drilling companies are required to have in place  “exit routes, emergency action plans, and fire prevention plans.” These processes are made easy with safety management software, where employers and employees can both see the plans, understand them, and in the event of a fire or explosions, activate them properly.

4) Falls, Trips, & Slips

A common risk in any industry are trips and slips. These risks are entirely preventable. Many falls result in injury, some even result in deaths. In the USA, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 247,120 non-fatal cases involving falls, slips and trips in 2014 and nearly 800 fatalities in 2014. In Canada, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety reported more than 42,000 workers injured annually due to falls. Workers are at risk of tripping over a variety of equipment and materials in the oil and gas industry. From spills, clutter, and cables to uneven surfaces and erratic weather conditions every day presents a challenge. With our EHS software, training certifications are easy to track in order to keep up to date. This covers an employer’s liability for small mistakes like leaving a cable uncovered or untied.

5) Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals

The oil and gas industry is surrounded by risky chemicals that infiltrate the human body, causing potential health hazards. It can be very difficult to track chemical hazards due to the large variety of chemical compounds used, plus, the NIOSH Oil and Gas Extraction Safety and Health Program says

“Exposures are episodic. Ultra-fine particulates were found to increase during periods of heavy pumping; i.e., during hydraulic fracturing operations.”

The same report concluded that exposure risks include mixed exposures, multiple exposure routes such as inhalation or indigestion, dermal exposures, and transfer risks. Our safety manager software tracks operations which can identify trends and hazards. This evolves to indicate potentially hazardous chemicals and risks so workers are notified when they need extra protective gear.

6) Remote Locations & Lone Workers

Remote workers are at risk for many different reasons. Whether they’re driving, experience a fire or explosion, or get stuck in a trench cave-in these risks are multiplied when a lone worker is in a remote location. Workaware’s safety manager and EHS software keeps the lines of communication open for remote and lone workers even when they’re offline. This allows for workers to update managers about the events of the day, any incidents or emergencies, as well as hourly check-ins to ensure the worker is safe.

Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of the employer to mitigate risk and create safer work environments for employees. With all the moving pieces within a company, the last thing an owner needs is a lawsuit. By streamlining operations, tracking trends, monitoring training certifications, and providing employers with tools to feel safe on the job, employers limit their liability and improve employee satisfaction.

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