Working in the oil and gas extraction industry comes with inherent dangers that make it one of the most hazardous occupations. From drilling platforms to refineries, the environment is rife with potential risks that can have severe and sometimes deadly consequences for workers.
Examining the reasons behind the perilous nature of oil and gas extraction sheds light on the challenges faced by workers in this high-stakes industry.
High-temperature and high-pressure environments
Oil and gas extraction often involves working in environments with high temperatures and pressures. The machinery and equipment used in drilling and refining processes operate under extreme conditions. Exposure to these harsh conditions can lead to burns, heat-related illnesses and other health issues for workers.
Explosive and flammable substances
The presence of explosive and flammable substances in oil and gas extraction poses a constant threat to worker safety. The extraction and refining processes involve handling volatile materials. Any lapse in safety protocols can result in catastrophic incidents such as explosions and fires. The potential for these events makes it important for workers to adhere to safety procedures.
Heavy machinery and equipment hazards
The operation of heavy machinery and equipment is a fundamental aspect of oil and gas extraction. However, the use of such machinery introduces additional risks to workers. Accidents involving equipment malfunction, improper operation or inadequate maintenance can lead to severe injuries or fatalities. The sheer size and power of the machinery amplify the consequences of any lapses in safety measures.
Per the American Geosciences Institute, fatality rates are six times higher for oil and gas workers than for all other workers in the United States. This suggests that more effective safety measures and protocols are necessary to protect the lives of workers in this demanding industry.