Oil & Gas Sites: Why You Need an Emergency Response Team

Oil and gas workers are highly valuable and skilled workers. In addition to certain situations requiring emergency response teams on standby, by law, it’s also in a company’s interest to protect their workers to ensure maximum productivity. Serious injuries can result in employees taking upwards of 50 days of paid leave or in the worst case, not able to return to work at all.

For employees of oil and gas companies working in office environments, the risk for serious injury is obviously low. However the rates of serious injuries are much higher for workers on project sites. In fact, the more remote your work site is, the more necessary it is to have an emergency response team on-site because of the lack of accessibility.

Here are examples of situations that result in serious injuries at oil and gas sites, and how emergency response teams prevent or minimize the accident’s impact on the worker and the company.

Falls from Elevation

According to WorkSafeBC, falls from elevations accounted for 14% of all serious injury claims in the oil and gas industry in 2013.

Rescues from confined spaces are especially challenging because of the height, the limited amount of space, and a potential lack of air. If your team is working at heights, having an emergency standby team that’s proficient in technical rope rescue is essential to a fast rescue. Falls from elevations can easily result in strains, fractures and concussions; the effects of these injuries can often be reduced if they are attended to quickly by an emergency response professional.

“Caught-In” Accidents

Similar to from falls from elevation, “caught-in” accidents accounted for 14% of serious injuries in the petroleum industry. Accidents involving a worker’s body part(s) being caught in something can happen in many industrial settings, not just at oil and gas work sites. An example of a caught-in accident is a worker’s glove getting caught inside a drill, resulting in crushed fingers. These types of accidents require immediate medical attention, which is only possible with an emergency response team on-site.

Falls on the Same Level

Examples of serious accidents involving falls on the same level include workers tripping on equipment, or slipping on slippery surfaces. Injuries can result from the actual fall itself and also from the working hitting something else on the way down, and can include strains, concussions, fractures and lacerations.

An emergency response standby team can provide injured workers immediate attention, and also quickly move injured workers into a safe area so that other workers can continue working.

Animal Attacks

Oil and gas projects or properties are often in remote areas, and can be surrounded by forests or mountains where there is active wildlife. Although wildlife attacks are rare, they can have fatal consequences when they happen, such as the bear attack at the Alberta oil sands in May 2014 when employees weren’t carrying bear spray.

An emergency response team with experience on wildlife deterrent can ensure the right protocols are taken to prevent wild life from entering the site, as well as knowing how to respond to attacks.

For more safety tips or how to select an emergency response team for your project, please contact us at (780) 801-5381 or sgruber@protocolrescue.com.