Oil and gas rigs and facilities where storage tanks are used to store crude oil need to pay attention to worker safety. Many incidents have been reported in the past few years about workers getting asphyxiated when undertaking gas sampling atop storage tanks and workers getting killed in explosions at oil rigs. This article explains the safety measures that are necessary to prevent such incidents from taking place in the future.

Workers Who Undertake Sampling At Oil Storage Tanks Need Respirators

Sampling and measurement in oil storage tanks exposes workers to a cocktail of dangerous gases that can prove deadly. Time and again, many workers were rendered helpless as they lose consciousness, on account of the exposure to the toxic gases, making it impossible to escape to safety. The danger lies in the fact that vapours that arise from crude oil contain toxic gases that can overpower and even kill people. A medical toxicologist has reiterated the need to provide workers who conduct sampling with air respirators that supply a steady amount of oxygen to the workers. The tanks should ideally be equipped with a hydrogen sulfide gas detector to detect the presence of this toxic gas. This will alert workers and keep them safe from potential harm.

Michael Kosnett, a medical toxicologist with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said in a recent article:

“When workers are conducting sampling directly over thief hatches, they should be equipped with “supplied-air respirators” that supply an adequate amount of clean oxygen via a hose or a tank.”

Employer Cited By OSHA Due To Absence Of Worker Safety Measures

In March this year, three oil well service workers were killed when they were working to install a blowout preventer at an oil rig. They lacked protective clothing and safety equipment. The employer was cited by OSHA for serious workplace violations and levied a hefty fine as well. The workers were not provided with either suitable protective clothing or equipment, as they undertook the installation.

Sandy Smith said in a recent article:

“After the fire, OSHA opened an investigation and cited employer Mason Well Service of Odessa, Tex., on Sept. 8 for one repeated and five serious workplace violations. The agency determined that the company failed to prevent contact between an ignition source and flammable liquids and gases, and did not ensure workers wore personal hydrogen sulfide monitors and flame-retardant clothing. Proposed fines total $50,400.”

This calls for the need for better safety equipment and gas detection equipment to prevent injuries and death of workers at oil and gas facilities.