There are different exposure risks and workplace safety and health requirements in the oil and gas industry surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus has caused lasting damage to the world, but it doesn’t need to cause lasting damage to your business. Preventative steps for occupational safety ensure safe working conditions for all employees under your care. OSHA has created a series of guidelines to ensure you keep your workers safe while they continue their essential services. If you follow these guidelines closely you won’t have to worry about health hazards.
Oil and gas industry tasks fall under low and medium exposure risk levels. This doesn’t mean safety should be disregarded. Instead, you should have an increased degree of caution around certain aspects of work. Ensure that personal protective equipment is in use at all times and that the work environment is sanitized as much as possible, depending on the task.
Oil and gas drilling, servicing, production, distribution, and processing tasks that don’t require frequent close contact with other coworkers, contractors, customers, or the public are considered low risk but should still be approached with a degree of caution. Performing duties in non-public areas of oil and gas production or processing facilities away from other workers or the public is similarly a relatively safe task since you have minimum exposure to risk and are socially distanced from fellow employees.
Oil and gas drilling, servicing, production, distribution, and processing tasks that require frequent close contact (within six feet) with coworkers, contractors, customers, or the general public are medium risk due to relative proximity. These locations are places like control rooms, trailers, doghouses, and other high-traffic areas. If you have to travel inside facilities, or between facilities using shared vehicles, or in a vehicle with other workers, exercise care and caution while wearing the appropriate PPE.
The oil and gas industry has many different dangers to avoid and InSource Insurance Group is here to help you manage them.
Social distancing is one of the best protective methods for workers to avoid the spread of COVID-19 and workplace hazards. Ensure you configure communal work environments such as control rooms, jobsite trailers, and doghouses so that workers are at least six feet apart if possible. Try to modify the alignment of workstations so workers don’t have to face one another constantly but can still maintain consistent communication. These stations should also be at least six feet apart when possible to maintain safe and healthy pandemic practices.
Use physical barriers like curtains or plexiglass dividers to ensure adequate ventilation and protection in work areas to help minimize workers’ potential exposure. Open windows are a simple yet effective measure to dilute the virus if it is present in the air. If there are fans in the workplace, try to minimize airflow blowing on your employees as much as possible. Following these industry standard safety protocols keeps everyone more protected from the effects of the virus.
Try to stagger the arrival and departure of employees to avoid congestion in parking areas, hallways, and other common areas. Provide visual cues and signs to remind employees of social distancing guidelines and how far apart they should stand. Try to limit the number of employees who can be in certain enclosed areas to reduce the risk of accidental exposure. Similar to arrivals and departures, try to stagger the break times of employees as much as possible. Encourage employees to avoid carpooling as much as possible and if they have to use shuttle services or a carpool, take the necessary precautions to prevent exposure.
Encourage good hand hygiene through hand sanitizer stations, handwashing stations, and personal hygiene policies. Constantly clean and disinfect shared common equipment and common rooms to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Provide disposable drinking water cups or individual bottles of water in hydration stations. In break or dining areas, try to use disposable tableware and plates and discourage the use of shared condiment bottles. Workers in the industry should be, at minimum, using a cloth face covering during their shift, with specific PPE masks being the preferred choice.
InSource Insurance Group specializes in insurance across multiple industries. We have extensive knowledge around the oil and gas industry and want to help businesses avoid potential hazards while enhancing your management systems. Please take your insurance and risk management practices seriously, and stay safe during these challenging times with help of InSource Insurance Group. Please contact us at 432-362-8800 if we can help you with your insurance or risk management needs.