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Other Hazards on the Drilling Site (Continued)

Hot Work/Welding

hot work

Hot work is any work that involves burning, welding, using fire- or spark-producing tools, or that produces a source of ignition. Welding and cutting operations are common to drilling and servicing operations. Test for flammable gases in the work area before starting any hot work. Potentially hazardous areas include, but are not limited to, well heads, fuel tanks, mud tanks, tank batteries, gas separators, oil treaters, or confined spaces where gases can accumulate.

Slips, Trips and Falls

Slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents. They cause 15% of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities.

The areas where most exposure exists for slips, trips and falls is the rig floor because that’s where most of the work is accomplish and where most of the equipment is housed.

There are many ways to protect from slips, trips, and falls. Even so, they still happen and the following are means to either prevent slips, trips, and falls or to minimize the consequences if they should happen.

  • Wear personal protective equipment (such as hard hats, work gloves, safety shoes, and eye protection).
  • Be aware of the slipping and falling hazards when working on the drilling floor, servicing rig floors or other platforms.
  • Keep all work areas clean and clear of oil, tools, and debris.
  • Use non-skid surfaces where appropriate.
  • Provide guardrails and guards around work areas that are prone to slips, trips, and falls.
  • Install, inspect, and secure stairs and handrails. [29 CFR 1926.1052]
  • Instruct workers on proper procedures for using and installing ladders.
  • Use only ladders in good repair that do not have missing rungs.
  • Do not install stairs with missing or damaged steps. Repair them before installing them.
  • Keep walkways clean and free of debris and tripping hazards. [29 CFR 1910.22]
  • Keep all cords and hoses orderly and clear of walking spaces.
  • Cover open cellars.
  • Conduct a pre-job inspection to identify, then eliminate or correct hazardous work surfaces.
  • Use waterproof footgear to decrease slip/fall hazards.
Take Pride in Your Job: Fall Protection - NIOSH

Fall Protection

Falls are among the most common causes of serious work related injuries and deaths. Employers must set up the work place to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls.

Falls from elevated areas account for a relatively low percentage of the accidents that occur in drilling operations; however, those accidents that do occur usually are severe or fatal.

Most of the falls occur while erecting the derrick, climbing the derrick ladders, or working from one of the platforms. Adequate worker protection can be provided during most, if not all, of these situations by the use of safety belts, lifelines and lanyards, safety nets, and climbing devices.

Strains and Sprains

Any work on a drilling rig that is performed with high force, with many repetitions, or in a position that feels awkward is risky. Even a motion that is harmless in and of itself, like stretching out the arm to grasp an object or squeezing a tool, may put the worker at risk of injury if it is repeated over and over.

Sprains and strains are two types of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

  • A sprain is a stretch or tear of a ligament (a band of fibrous tissue that connects two or more bones at a joint).
  • A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon (a fibrous cord of tissue that connects a muscle to a bone).

Strains and Sprains (Continued)

Ergonomic controls can help eliminate or limit exposure to MSDs on a drilling rig. Types of controls usually fall into these ergonomic categories:

  • Prolonged standing: Static postures may occur as workers continuously stand in one position causing muscle fatigue and pooling of blood in the lower extremities.
  • Forceful exertions: Movement such as lifting, lowering, pushing or pulling heavy equipment or supplies, can cause back, neck and shoulder injury resulting in muscle strain, tendinitis or rotator cuff injuries, etc.
  • Awkward postures: The probability of injury increases when any forceful exertion or repetitive motion is accomplished while the worker assumes an awkward posture such as twisting.
  • Repetitive motions: Performing hand-intensive tasks with a bent wrist creates considerable stress on the tendons of the wrist and can lead to irritation and swelling. MSDs such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendinitis, and Tenosynovitis may result.

General solutions for strains and sprains include:

  • Use proper lifting technique.
  • Hoist slowly to limit pipe momentum.
  • Seek assistance when moving awkward and heavy guards and covers.
  • Use proper stance and slip-lifting techniques. Slips have three handles and should be lifted jointly by more than one person.
  • Use lifting equipment and limit manual positioning of elevators.
  • Practice proper hand placement and use of pullback (tail) ropes.
  • Use mechanical lifting aids, proper lifting techniques, and team lifting where appropriate.
  • Use proper hand and body positioning.
  • Ergonomics: OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page (hand injury, lifting, and repetitive motions)

Motor Vehicle Safety

hot work

Truck drivers and workers in pickup trucks often travel between oil and gas wells located on rural highways which often lack firm road shoulders, rumble strips, and, occasionally, pavement.

Oil and gas workers often are on 8- or 12-hour shifts, working 7--14 days in a row. Fatigue has been identified as an important risk factor in motor-vehicle crashes. A targeted program that addresses fatigue among workers in this 24-hour industry might reduce motor-vehicle crashes and fatalities.

To reduce the number of vehicle accidents to oil and gas industry drivers, do the following:

  • Require employees to wear seat belts when they are traveling in company vehicles.
  • Develop and implement a company vehicle safety program for all employees, including supervisors, crew members, sales personnel, etc.
  • Instruct employees to comply with all highway safety regulations and to reduce driving speed during inclement weather and when road conditions have deteriorated.
  • Stress to employees that operating vehicles while fatigued is dangerous to themselves, their passengers, and others that may encounter their vehicle. Make sure that employees understand that management does not want them driving if they are too fatigued to drive safely.
  • Ensure vehicles are properly maintained, such as making sure the brakes are in good working order and the tire pressure is at an appropriate level.

Powered Industrial Trucks

Powered industrial trucks, commonly called forklifts or lift trucks, are used in many industries, primarily to move materials. They can also be used to raise, lower, or remove large objects or a number of smaller objects on pallets or in boxes, crates, or other containers. Powered industrial trucks can either be ridden by the operator or controlled by a walking operator. Over-the-road haulage trucks and earth-moving equipment that has been modified to accept forks are not considered powered industrial trucks.

What are the hazards associated with operating powered industrial trucks?

industrial truck

There are many types of powered industrial trucks. Each type presents different operating hazards. For example, a sit-down, counterbalanced high-lift rider truck is more likely than a motorized hand truck to be involved in a falling load accident because the sit-down rider truck can lift a load much higher than a hand truck. Workplace type and conditions are also factors in hazards commonly associated with powered industrial trucks. For example, retail establishments often face greater challenges than other worksites in maintaining pedestrian safety. Many workers can also be injured when:

  1. lift trucks are inadvertently driven off loading docks;
  2. lifts fall between docks and an unsecured trailer;
  3. they are struck by a lift truck; or
  4. they fall while on elevated pallets and tines.

Struck by Hazards

Dropped object experiment - Black & Veatch

Struck-by injuries are produced by forcible contact or impact between the injured person and an object or piece of equipment. The impact of the object is the cause of the injury. OSHA breaks down struck-by hazards into the following categories:

  • Struck-by a flying object - failure of equipment on an oil rig can result in flying parts with considerable force.
  • Struck-by a falling object - objects can fall of the superstructure, tanks, roofs, scaffolding, and equipment and strike workers.
  • Struck-by a swinging object - derrickmen can be hit by suspended pipe when tripping pipe in and out. Workers can also be crushed by rotating superstructures of a crane or excavator.
  • Struck-by a rolling object - vehicles and heavy equipment can crush workers due to the weight and force of being hit by equipment.

Fatalities occur every year on drilling rigs when workers are struck by objects in any of the four categories above. There is a lot of equipment and components that can fall off the rig and cause serious physical harm or a fatality. The resulting accidents may involve failure to use appropriate safety equipment to prevent objects from falling. Workers may also not be wearing protective equipment like hard hats to reduce the severity of a head injury if struck. A falling object can cause a lot of damage when striking workers or materials. Look at the video that helps to emphasize the hazards of failing to wear a hard hat while working on a drilling rig.

Adverse Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can create hazardous working conditions. Therefore, it is necessary to monitor weather conditions and forecasts to allow time to prepare for such conditions as may occur.

Lightning is especially hazardous and unpredictable. When lightning is present, crews must avoid situations where they could become part of potential current paths.



Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

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1. Any work that involves burning, welding, using fire- or spark-producing tools, or that produces a source of ignition is called _____.

2. Which of the following cause 15% of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities?

3. Each of the following would help prevent slips, trips and falls on a drilling rig, except _____.

4. Any work on a drilling rig that is performed with high force, with many repetitions, or in a position that feels awkward can lead to _____.

5. Powered industrial truck operators can be injured when any of the following occur, except _____.

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