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OSHA issues new hazard alert for oil and gas industry workers

Knowledge is power and the sharing of information is one way we speak knowledge to power. But information has power only to the extent that it is acted upon which is one reason we write this blog. We feel we contribute to the well-being of the broader Texas community.

The Occupational Safety Health Administration recently issued a new hazard alert that directly affects oil and gas industry workers and so we feel duty-bound to share out the information for the sake of the safety of many men and women in Texas and Louisiana who face a risk of being injured on the job every day.

The issue in this instance, according to OSHA and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, is that an increasing number of workers who are manually gauging or sampling fluids in production or flowback tanks are being exposed to deadly hydrocarbon gases and vapors.

Officials say such exposure is blamed for causing nine deaths between 2010 and 2014 and they say all could have been prevented had proper practices been followed and equipment used.

In response, the agencies' alert offers a range of recommendations aimed at reducing the exposures and ensuring worker safety. The full scope of suggestions can be found here, but they include:

  • Employers adopting tank gauging practices that don't require opening tank hatches
  • Upgrading pressure indicator equipment on tanks so hatches don't always have to be opened
  • Providing workers with appropriate breathing equipment and protective wear
  • Making sure all employees are properly trained on the various gas and flammability hazards associated with gauging
  • Adopting procedures that assure gauging workers have backup support and get immediate medical help in emergencies

Workers have a right to be as safe as possible. Exercising that power depends on knowing what rights you have, and that is best done by consulting an experienced attorney.

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