Keeping Oil & Gas Employees Safe

“In July 1988, the Piper Alpha went up in flames, killing 167 of 226 men in its crew. It is one of the most tragic offshore rig disasters in history.

The investigation into the accident revealed multiple causes, in particular poor maintenance and safety procedures, and resulted in 106 recommendations to improve offshore safety and management practices.As a result, several major changes were made to U.K. practices to help increase the safety of workers, especially in the offshore sector, and to protect large capital assets invested by major oil and gas companies. One of those changes was the requirement for personnel working with equipment intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres to receive training in safe installation, inspection, and maintenance practices.

To satisfy this requirement, CompEx®, a training and competency assessment scheme, was developed by the Engineering Equipment and Material Users Association (EEMUA) in conjunction with JTLimited, the U.K.’s largest work-based learning provider; the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA); Unite the Union, Britain’s largest trade union; and various industry representatives.”

 

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ASSE Publishes Article on Hazards of Out-of-Service Equipment Handling

“The American Society of Safety Engineers’ journal, Professional Safety, published an article in its July issue that details the wide variety of hazards that may be encountered when a facility is retiring equipment in the chemical processing industry. Written by Robert Wasileski, senior process safety manager at NOVA Chemical Inc., the article describes how to analyze the hazards and create a robust out-of-service equipment program to manage the risks associated with retiring equipment.

Fire and explosion hazards, reactive chemistry hazards, and live electrical connections or connections to working machinery complicate how to safely remove items from a plant, Wasileski writes in the “Retired and Dangerous: Out-of-Service Equipment Hazards” article. He writes that the biggest risk lies in equipment that has been abandoned and contains flammable and/or combustible material. The author writes that, “when these materials are accidentally released from containment, vapor cloud explosions, flash fires and pool fires become imminent threats,” citing the fire ignited by a February 2007 propane leak from a cracked pipe that had been out of service for 15 years, according to the Chemical Safety Board.He recommends that companies create an out-of-service equipment (OOSE) program that has these primary components: field identification; cataloging and categorization, hazard identification and risk evaluation, and inspection, testing, and preventive maintenance.”

 

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Alcohol Use Disorder Linked to Decreased ‘Work Trajectory’ in Study

“According to a recent study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, workers with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are more likely to have a flat or declining “work trajectory,” the American College of Occupational Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) said in a statement.

John D. Meyer, MD, MPH, of Icahn-Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, and Miriam Mutambudze, PhD, MPH, of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, studied the relationship between occupation and AUDs in workers followed up from early adulthood to middle age. They focused primarily on the complexity of work and whether that was an indicator of individuals progressing in their careers in terms of factors such as decision latitude and expanded work abilities. This is known as the work trajectory.

The study found that AUDs were initially found in 15 percent of men and 7.5 percent of women based on factors such as drinking more than intended or unsuccessful attempts to cut down on drinking. Lower work trajectory was directly linked to a higher rate of AUDs, both initially and during follow-up.

Although men had higher AUD rates, the association between AUD and downward occupational trajectory appeared stronger in women. A higher education in men was strongly associated with lower AUD risk.

The study suggests the link between work trajectory and AUDs is a consequence rather than a predictor, but reinforcing nonetheless.”

 

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IARC Report Prioritizes Agents, Exposures for Evaluating Carcinogenic Risks

“An advisory group to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has published a report recommending and prioritizing chemicals, complex mixtures, occupational exposures, physical agents, biological agents, and lifestyle factors for IARC Monographs during 2015-2019.

IARC is the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization, and government agencies across the globe use its monographs as scientific support for their actions to prevent exposure to potential carcinogens. These monographs identify and evaluate environmental factors that can increase carcinogenic risks to humans.

The report lists more than 50 recommended agents and exposures, and among those listed as high priority for the upcoming years are bisphenol A, 1-bromopropane, shiftwork, multi-walled carbon nanotubes, welding and welding fumes, and occupational exposure to pesticides.”

 

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In case you missed the announcement…

“Access Health is pleased to announce that Brenda Wiederkehr has been nominated to the Chairman of the Board for VPPPA (Voluntary Protection Participant’s Association) Region II. As Chairman, Brenda will represent in excess of 24,000 employees from a variety of industries including general industry, construction, transportation and aerospace.” “…If you want your worksite to be the Best of the Best, you should consider becoming a VPP site.

The Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) promote effective worksite-based safety and health. In the VPP, management, labor, and OSHA establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented a comprehensive safety and health management system. Approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health.”

To learn more about what VPP is, check out the Region II website here!

Handling Hazardous Material Emergencies

“Jerry Laws came in and said, “Barry, I was just talking to emergency response folks, and they were telling me about UN guide numbers identifying hazardous materials. But what about when an emergency gets out of hand–what do they do?”

“Jerry, it is easy to understand,” I replied. “Let me explain it to you. The Department of Transportation publishes an orange book every four years called the Emergency Response Guidebook, or the ERG. They distribute a copy to every emergency service vehicle in the United States. The rest of us have to buy the book from any of several book publishers or can download it for free off the Internet.”

“The book is divided into six sections – a white-edged-pages section, one with yellow edges, blue edges, orange edges, green edges, and another white-edged section. If you get involved in chemical emergencies, read the two white sections and get to understand how to use this book, now–before you have an emergency and need to use it in a hurry.

“Let’s start with the back white-edged section (page 356).

Here you’ll find the instructions in how to use this book during an emergency, protective clothing information, fire and spill control information, BLEVE2 table, information about CBRNE3, IED4 Stand-off distances, and it concludes with a glossary of terms.”

 

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MIOSHA Hosting Two Days of Penalty-Free Site Visits Next Month

“The Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Administration (MIOSHA) is inviting employers statewide to participate in two days of site visits by the agency’s staffers next month. The tenth annual “Take a Stand Day” will take place Aug. 13, with more than 125 MIOSHA compliance staffers, outreach consultants, managers, and supervisors providing one-on-one consultations when they visit Michigan high-hazard industries that are targeted by the MIOSHA Strategic Plan.

The following day is “Building Up Residential Safety Day,” when compliance and consultation staffers will visit residential work sites around the state.

These visits will focus on specific hazards/areas as requested by the employers.

No citations or fines will be issued to participating workplaces, but participants in either day must agree to correct all serious conditions.

The deadline to apply to participate is July 23.

To schedule a Take a Stand visit, complete a Request for Consultative Assistance form electronically and email it tocetrca@michigan.gov.”

For more details, click here!

THE OH&S BLOG–A State of Constant Readiness

“Fire! Scalding burns, blistering skin, blindness, hazardous materials exposure from a broken package, accidental skin exposure to compounding of chemo drugs. . . . Now that I have your attention, tell me that your emergency eyewash/safety shower is any less important piece of safety equipment on site than any other emergency equipment, such as a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, burn gel, AED, back board, or an SCBA?

Have you ever once included your safety shower in an emergency drill for employees? Would they know how to use, clean up after, and restore to service an eyewash/emergency shower or what to do with possibly contaminated water? Lots of water? (If it is not a drained unit, potentially up to 300 gallons of water in 15 minutes.) You do have a plan in place, right

?How about clever employees? I know of one angry housekeeper who would intentionally turn off the valves to the drench hoses for spite and a maintenance person who did not like to test the non-draining units–who never activated one shower. (That is why we have to verify.)

Consider your facility and the current state of your emergency eyewash/showers. Blocked by storage, used as coatracks, not tested, not flushed, rusted shut, or the water is turned off? Or, for stations with portable eyewash bottles: missing solution containers or out-of-date solution?

When was the last time you checked?”

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FAA Proposes $66,000 Civil Penalty Against Nazarene Aviation Fellowship

“The FAA is proposing a $66,000 civil penalty against Nazarene Aviation Fellowship of Overland Park, Kan., for allegedly violating Federal Aviation Regulations. The FAA alleges that Nazarene Aviation Fellowship operated an aircraft in an unauthorized and unsafe manner.

Nazarene owned an Aero Vodochody L-39 jet that had a special, experimental airworthiness certificate for the purpose of exhibition and air racing.

Nazarene allegedly gave a pilot named David Riggs permission to use the aircraft during May 2012 to perform proficiency checks on other pilots and for motion picture filming activities.

Riggs, however, used the aircraft on May 18, 2012, to conduct three passenger-carrying flights out of Boulder City Airport in Nevada. He allegedly charged passengers for those flights, and each flight was operated in formation with another Aero Vodochody L-39.

During the third formation flight, the pilot flying in formation with Riggs crashed, killing himself and his passenger.

The FAA alleges Nazarene violated Federal Aviation Regulations that prohibit operating an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger other people’s lives or property; operating an aircraft in formation flight while carrying passengers for hire; and charging people for rides on an aircraft with an experimental airworthiness certificate.

The FAA revoked Riggs’ pilot certificate for the regulation violations he committed during the May 18, 2012 flights.

Nazarene has been in communication with the FAA about this matter.”

A New Approach to Escape Respirators

“Newton’s first law of motion states that an object at rest remains at rest, while an object in motion stays in motion at the same speed and direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. In the world of safety, the same principle can apply to the types of respirators used for industrial escape applications.

Although innovative technology has been revolutionizing industrial operations and efficiency for decades, many companies are still using the same escape solutions that were available 30 years ago.

Considering the cost pressures facing today’s industry, it makes sense for companies to explore new escape solutions that can help reduce costs while still increasing safety standards.

When Considering Change Makes Sense….”

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