On 25 August 2012, an explosion caused by the ignition of a leaking gas at the Amuay oil refinery, which is part of the Paraguana Refinery Complex, killed 48 people; primarily National Guard troops stationed at the plant, and injured 151 others1 .
The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion refers to the April 20, 2010 explosion and subsequent fire on the Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU) killed 11 workers and injured 16 others2. The explosion caused the Deepwater Horizon to burn and sink, resulting in a massive offshore oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, considered the largest accidental marine oil spill in the world, and the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history2.
According to the report developed by the NORA Oil and Gas Extraction Council; In the US, during 2003-2008, 648 oil and gas extraction workers were fatally injured on the job, resulting in an occupational fatality rate of 29.1 deaths per 100,000 workers – eight times higher than the rate for all U.S. workers. Nearly half of all fatal events in the Oil and Gas extraction industry resulted from highway crashes (29%) and workers struck by objects and equipment (20%)3.
The above alarming incident data clearly emphasizes the need for an effective occupational safety and health management system that integrates safety and health concerns into a daily routine.
People working in Oil and Gas industry are exposed to various risk factors. Hence continuous monitoring of their working conditions and well-being is essential. Health protocols and periodic medical checkup should be pre-defined and done for every worker depending on the job and work area type to identify possible deviations from the normal health and to confirm that necessary counteractive actions are taken in advance.
This paper outlines the key safety and health hazards associated with the upstream, midstream and downstream segments of Oil and Gas industry, including the significance, features, components and benefits of an effective Occupational Safety and Health Management System (OSHMS) for the industry.
3. Hazards Related to Oil and Gas Industry
Hazards in Oil and Gas industry can be divided into two broad categories:
- Safety and Injury Hazards
- Health and Illnesses Hazards
3.1 Safety and Injury Hazards
Workers in Oil and Gas industry are generally susceptible to the following safety and injury hazards