Our experience and use cases prove that modern technologies help enhance oil and gas company safety culture, design a human-centered working environment, and prevent most workplace accidents. So, below we share actionable tips that can help you improve safety protocols and security strategies through digital work processes.
What are the risks within the industry?
A career in an oil and gas company can be rewarding, but it’s also one of the most dangerous industries. In 2020, the sector saw 78 fatalities in the US. Safety hazards that mainly occur in oil and gas facilities and onshore/offshore sites as well as result in fatal accidents include:
- Caught-in or struck-by accidents. It’s the leading cause of fatalities in the extraction sector. 28 out of 78 oil and gas employees were injured by falling equipment, moving machines, and high-pressure lines.
- Vehicle collisions. About four of every ten fatalities in the industry are due to a vehicle incident. The most common reasons for crashes are drivers’ fatigue or improper machine performance.
- Explosions and fires. Even the slightest leakage of volatile compounds has potentially catastrophic implications. Wells, trucks, production, and surface equipment can release dangerous gases, so even a cigarette can provoke a fire.
- Exposure to dangerous environments and substances. Hazardous materials can affect health and cause diseases such as cancer, asthma, and dermatitis. Injuries and fatalities associated with exposure to harmful substances are often associated with confined spaces or inadequate ventilation.
- Falls, slips, trips. Operators working in drilling usually access machinery high off the ground, facing a greater danger of a fall. The industry has reconsidered its instructions regarding falls, so they account for fewer accidents today.
- Mental health issues. The risk of mental health problems is dangerous for industry employees due to their intensive workplaces. Fatigue and mental stress can negatively affect safety leading to inattentiveness and errors in the workplace.
The sector is among the most dangerous ones, so it should have one of the most advanced safety programs. 62% of teens and 44% of young adults believe a career in oil and gas is risky, difficult, and harmful to society. So, comprehensive company safety culture and best practices can help attract younger candidates to close the skill gaps.
Additionally, improved safety culture of an organization and adherence to industry standards support sustainability goals. Digital advancements help prevent leaks and spills, protecting the workforce and the environment.
How to ensure safety of facilities for employees?
So, what immediate actions should leaders take to protect their workforce? Below you can find concrete workplace safety tips that we recommend following to mitigate risks and guarantee a healthy work environment.
1. Provide a training program for workers
Thorough training sessions are one of the best ways to improve company safety culture and reduce potential risks. You can arrange courses to teach your staff how to perform their job duties securely and effectively in fields and oil and gas facilities. For instance, a massive oil spill in 2010 emphasized the need for enhanced emergency management training for the workforce.
Additionally, it’s crucial for oil and gas employees to follow, test, and adopt new technologies. This way they can gain new knowledge and boost their career opportunities. Needless to say, a competent employee is a valuable asset to any organization and industry these days.
2. Ensure oil and gas employees’ welfare
Human resources in O&G suffer from frustration and stress more often than in other industries. They are under pressure to avoid errors, since they may have severe consequences for the environment or society. Moreover, offshore workers are often away from family and friends for a long time. Isolation, depression, fatigue, and anxiety impact workforce efficiency and safety, so it’s crucial to support their mental health.
Start with revising your company safety culture around employees’ welfare and be ready to act immediately to address cases of poor mental health. Ensure stable connectivity wherever possible to empower workers to keep in contact with family and deal with isolation and stress. Mobile applications and wearables can help against mental health issues by providing recommendations and resources. Such an approach will not only increase your staff productivity but also make your company more attractive to the best talents.
3. Perform quality analysis of the oil and gas facilities and site operations
Quality analysis of site operations gives you a better understanding of where possible dangers may emerge, so you can react to accidents proactively. Sensors and IoT monitoring systems help gather more information on oil and gas production facilities for you to make a thorough analysis. The data combined with automation technologies can better support the effective management of industrial facilities.
Since today’s maintenance of numerous assets requires much time and many skills, we see the tendency toward outsourcing facility management services. Experts like Digital Oil & Gas Solutions combine expertise with relevant technologies to get this job done quickly and effectively, thus saving your time and money.
4. Enable real-time communication to prevent accidents
A digitally empowered workforce with access to IoT and cellular networks to power devices can have a significantly lower rate of incidents. Smartphones and wearables can provide on-demand, voice-controlled access to the necessary data to complete the task safely. Operators can call anyone to report an incident or receive instructions on what to do further in real-time.
5. Perform unsafe manual labor with remote technologies
Robotics, drones, sensors, and other IoT devices can augment industry safety standards as they are designed to work in harsh conditions and risky environments. You can utilize them for remote inspections of pipelines and offshore sites, pinpointing leakages and getting a more informed view of the hazard.
Additionally, robotics technology allows tracking the levels of harmful gases in confined areas and monitoring employees’ locations and vitals, lowering the risk of injury. Moreover, it can function as a first responder to incidents and emergencies.
6. Switch to preventive asset maintenance
Did you know that 3.65 days of unexpected downtime cost oil and gas organizations $5.037 million a year? Sudden failure of machinery is both costly and risky. Predictive maintenance is a solution that can help businesses minimize incidents and improve company safety culture. The staff will know where exactly the problem is and if the environment is safe to fix it.
Moreover, the information on asset status allows engineers to manage arising issues faster. Thus, you will prevent serious machine breakdowns that lead to potentially dangerous situations.
7. Apply digital twins to detect safety issues faster and easier
Digital twin technology enables the creation of accurate models that virtually replicate complex processes, equipment modifications, and design before applying them in the real world. Companies can use this technology to register and tag on-site hazards and integrate health and safety protocols. So, there is no wonder that 74 percent of organizations will adopt digital twins (DT) by 2025.
Also, you can detect early signs of equipment failure or degradation, enabling proactive maintenance and thus reducing caught-in incidents. From this perspective, dangers and inefficiencies become more apparent, allowing you to respond immediately.
On top of that, a DT allows for training workers remotely through simulations to ensure that they are informed and well equipped. By doing so, you will promote a meaningful change to your company safety culture that everyone across the enterprise should be a part of.
Secure a productive and healthy working environment
Our workplace safety tips will help you create a more secure and human-centered work environment and improve company safety culture. Meanwhile, by introducing technology-driven strategies, you will better control workspace hazards, implement necessary training, and improve communication with staff.
Current crises and market fluctuations once again stress the need for resilience and innovation. Many oil and gas organizations opt for facility management services as they require greater technical capabilities and knowledge to keep assets running securely. Our monitoring system solutions and consulting services help many companies strengthen their workforce, prevent risks, and add more value to their operations. So, if you want to future proof your business and make your company a safe place for your people, contact us today.