The oil and gas industry employs millions of workers who take on both desk and field positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. oil and gas extraction sector employed about 150,000 laborers in 2019.
These jobs drive some of the most commonly consumed products around the world. Oil and natural gas resources are in extremely high demand, even as the world is still recovering from the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The global oil and gas market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 25.5 percent between 2020 and 2021, reaching $5,870.13 billion this year.
Oil and gas safety jobs are becoming more necessary as the industry continues to grow and new risks assert themselves. Oil and gas exploration and production processes can be dangerous and sometimes fatal, so there are several additional considerations that operators in these fields need to plan for to properly manage risk. Even if an incident doesn’t lead to a fatality, it may create long-term health problems for the injured worker, including chronic pain or other ailments.
Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) professionals help ensure that proper protocols are in place in an effort to prevent incidents and mitigate risk. Learn about the state of oil and gas safety and how an EHS professional provides extra layers of protection for the industry.
Oil and Gas Industry Statistics
The oil and gas industry is especially fraught with risk and dangers. Harvesting these resources requires heavy equipment for tasks like drilling and transporting. If the equipment fails or is used incorrectly, injuries will occur. The substances themselves are highly flammable, creating an increased risk of fire or explosion at the worksite.
Working with oil and gas means you must quickly become familiar with these risks. Frequent causes of injury or fatality in this industry, as outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), include:
- Work vehicle accidents
- Struck-by/caught-in/caught-between accidents
- Entrapment in confined spaces
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals
One report from the International Association of Oil and Gas (IOGP) found that, in 2019, the oil and gas industry saw 25 deaths in 22 separate incidents that occurred during about 3 billion work hours. The year before, there were 31 fatalities for a similar timeframe. The IOGP report found that the FAR for 2018 was 1.01 deaths per 100 million hours worked compared with 0.82 for 2019.
The largest percentage of oil and gas industry deaths were attributed to caught-in, caught-under, or caught-between incidents, which doesn’t include fatalities caused by dropped objects. Ten separate incidents involving dropped objects caused 12 deaths. The primary causes were accidents involving lifting, crane, rigging, and deck operations, which caused six fatalities, according to the findings.
It is impossible to eliminate all associated dangers of working in oil and gas, but more advanced protocols and safety processes may lead to overall risk reduction in the industry.
Hiring an EHS professional can help you reduce risks even more. These workers audit your work environment and processes to help you create better safety policies and procedures to prevent negative outcomes.
How an EHS Professional Improves Safety in Oil and Gas
Improving safety in the oil and gas industry is neither easy nor straightforward. You must continually review and update protocols and policies. Professionals must take on an objective viewpoint, which can be a challenge if you’re working within the organization. You should ask for and incorporate employee feedback into plans because these individuals are the closest in proximity to the real risks presented at the worksite — they operate amongst the potential threats and dangers on a daily basis.
An EHS professional can help with this delicate balance. These industry experts will provide you with the following benefits and EHS services:
EHS experts understand the latest in safety and have a high industry IQ. They can take a look at your current environment and make suggestions, ensuring you are up to code and are only implementing best practices.
Improve workflow efficiency
In addition to safety, EHS professionals can help you create better company processes, which in turn can lead to a better organization.
It is extremely valuable to have an outside party come in and evaluate the organization’s current operating standards. Their outside perspective allows them to objectively audit behaviors and provide better guidance without bias.
Filling the Gaps
One small gap in safety means your employees are at risk on the job. An EHS professional will be able to identify potential safety gaps and help close them with processes that will address the root cause.
Even if you recognize a risk, you may not know how to address it. In working with a safety expert, they’ll provide you suggestions such as:
- Monitoring employee mental health and stress
- Installing in-vehicle monitoring systems (IVMS)
- Implementing better safety programs with open communication among workers
- Increasing equipment maintenance
- Improving communication strategies with local emergency response teams
- Ensuring employees are familiar with the worksite and understand their roles
- Encouraging better data practices
- Creating more efficient cleaning and organizing procedures
- Installing safety signage and warnings
These are just a few of the recommendations you may receive from an EHS professional among others more specific to your site that will help you create a safer oil and gas worksite.
Improve Oil and Gas Safety with an EHS Professional
When you need to find an EHS professional to help improve your practices and reduce the risk of oil and gas incidents, YellowBird can help. We pair you with oil and gas EHS experts that have the skills, experience, qualifications, and certifications you’re looking for. We provide you access to on-demand risk management and EHS professionals while we manage scheduling and payments so you don’t have to. Our professionals are vetted with a four-step process to ensure that you’re only receiving the highest-quality work from top industry professionals. Get started today with Yellowbird so we can make the oil and gas industry safer together.