Fall Protection Plans for the Oil and Gas Industry
Fall protection is a vital part of the oil and gas industry. The work environment is harsh and employees face serious hazards. Oil and gas workers are often required to work on elevated equipment, which makes it particularly important to implement a fall protection plan. In addition to preventing employees from falling, fall protection will also help reduce injuries. This article will explain the key issues to consider when creating a fall protection plan.
Fall injuries and fatalities are very common in the oil and gas industry, and are a leading cause of injury and death. According to the US Department of Interior, more than a third of all fatalities in this industry result from falls, slips, and trips. In Canada, fall injuries are listed in the 5 top reasons for death and disability at the workplace. As such, it is imperative that employers implement fall protection plans and train their workers to use fall protection equipment safely. Training should include understanding regulations, preventing misuse, and practicing rescue techniques.
There are several standards for fall protection in the oil and gas industry. However, because the nature of oil and gas extraction means that workers must work at high elevations, there is no single standard for the entire industry. Nevertheless, oil and gas employers should follow guidelines for fall protection in general industry and construction.
In Western Canada, for the petroleum business, there are set agencies that are required to certify personnel in Fall protection. Usually, the tickets are certified for 3 years. Each province has different definitions of what height workers can go to before they require certification. Often, it is 3 metres (about 10 feet). However, many companies have a higher standard and require training and a fall protection system at 6 feet (1.8 metres). In addition, companies should develop site-specific fall protection plans and rescue plans. Fall protection end user programs should incorporate practice in harness and fall protection inspections. They should learn why specific types of harnesses, rope grabs, SRLs and caribeaners are recommended.
Dangers from falling at height include disability, fractures, head injuries, psychological trauma and death. Rescues become complicated at height, and practice to treat suspension trauma, or pendulum swing injuries are recommended. Many gas plants hire rescue crews with fall protection training and rope access personnel. Specialized equipment includes rescue baskets, descend control devices, harnesses and tripods.
The safety equipment used in the oil and gas industry should be easy to use and reliable. It should be free from sharp edges, as these can damage webbing. In addition, it should be free from rust and corrosion. Lastly, the hardware must be durable and easy to attach and remove. This should help workers maintain OSHA compliance and keep them safe. For example, a fall protection plan should include rope grabbers and self-retracting lifelines.
The work environment is dangerous, and workers must use lifelines, lanyards, and anchors to protect themselves. They should also wear full body harnesses and fall protection gear. The hazards can range from a few feet to hundreds of feet. With the right safety gear, oil and gas workers can remain productive and continue working. A fall protection plan is essential to avoid injury and keep production moving. While fall protection equipment may seem expensive, it is necessary to maintain a safe work environment.
In addition to fall protection systems, workers should receive live hands-on training. An experienced fall protection professional will teach workers about the various systems and how to use them safely. Upon completion of the training, the person should put together a fall protection plan, which should include the systems appropriate for specific situations. Ultimately, the plan will guide the organization in acquiring the proper fall protection equipment. This may save a worker’s life.
A fall protection plan should also include retrieval equipment. Although retrieval equipment should be used only in emergency situations, they should be part of your fall protection program. This equipment is especially important if you work in confined spaces. This equipment should have an anchorage structure, a connector, and a full body harness to ensure safe rescues.
Safety is essential in the oil and gas industry. Falls are a significant risk to employees and can result in fatalities. In fact, between 2005 and 2014, 63 workers died in the oil and gas industry as a result of falls. In addition, nearly a third of fatalities involved falls while rigging or inserting drill pipe. More than half of fatalities occurred at heights of 30 feet or more. Forty-four percent of these accidents occurred in Texas.
Fall protection is a serious concern in the oil and gas industry, and proper training is essential for all employees. In addition to proper training, employers should appoint a competent person who can evaluate fall hazards, implement a fall protection plan, and monitor its implementation. This person should also have the authority to make corrections to hazards if necessary.
Regardless of the safety measures in place, falls can still occur. For instance, workers hanging in a harness are susceptible to suspension trauma, which requires a detailed rescue plan. Moreover, OSHA requires that employers rescue employees if they become injured. It is important to train employees to rescue themselves if necessary.https://www.youtube.com/embed/pKFX-HzqZaE
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