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Manual tank gauging poses serious risks for oil and gas workers

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2024 | Oil Field Injuries

Manual tank gauging, a common practice in the oil and gas industry, presents serious risks for workers involved in the process. This method involves workers manually measuring the level of liquids, such as crude oil or petroleum products, in storage tanks using a gauge tape or other manual tools.

Manual tank gauging may seem straightforward. However, it exposes workers to various hazards that can lead to accidents, injuries and even fatalities.

Risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals

A primary danger associated with manual tank gauging is the risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals. Many of the substances stored in tanks, such as crude oil and refined petroleum products, contain toxic or flammable compounds. These compounds pose significant health risks when workers inhale them or absorb them through the skin. Workers who perform manual tank gauging are at risk of exposure to these chemicals.

Potential for confined space hazards

Manual tank gauging often requires workers to enter confined spaces, such as storage tanks or vessels, to take measurements. These confined spaces can present a range of hazards. Some of these include poor ventilation, limited visibility and the potential for engulfment or entrapment. Without adequate safety measures, workers entering confined spaces to perform tank gauging tasks are at risk of suffocation, asphyxiation or other life-threatening incidents.

Risk of accidental releases and spills

Another risk associated with manual tank gauging is the potential for accidental releases or spills of hazardous substances. Improper handling of equipment, human error or equipment malfunction can lead to the unintentional release of liquids from storage tanks. This can lead to environmental contamination, property damage and harm to workers and nearby communities. These spills can have far-reaching consequences. They may also require costly cleanup efforts to mitigate their impact.

To protect the safety and well-being of workers, employers must implement comprehensive safety protocols. By prioritizing safety and adhering to best practices, the oil and gas industry can minimize the risks associated with manual tank gauging and create a safer work environment for everyone.