Use fall protection; Use trench boxes when excavating; Lock out Tag Out any time repair or maintenance of equipment involving stored energy is performed; Slips, Trips and Falls are one of the most expensive types of injury. For my sixteen years in safety these safety hazards were always in the forefront of safety concerns for businesses and safety professionals. Guess what? Work related road way crashes is the number one serious/fatal injury cause for U.S. workers. OSHA recognizes this. CDC/NIOSH has generated a white paper studying this fact. Who knew? So here is some info on this number one safety hazard in the US work place.
Solutions to a problem are easier to implement once the size and causes are known, so here are some facts.
What can be done?
1. Seat belts not being used contributed heavily to fatalities. Seat belts are easy to use, are common in all vehicles and have been around since the early 60's and mandatory in 1966. They take approximately 5 seconds to use. Seat belts are effective in crashes. An estimated 60% of the fatalities could have been avoided if seatbelts had been used. Interestingly the oil field has a "culture" of not using seatbelts. Time to change that mindset!
2. Fatigue. There are several factors contributing to fatigue including prolonged hours, lengthy drives, and time of day. Single vehicle crashes occur at higher rates at night. Some solutions include trying to provide a regular work schedule, taking light rest breaks (45 minute breaks after driving 4 hours). (Crash risk steadily increases after 4 hours driving; jumping to 80% higher at hours 9 and 10.)
3. Roads are a work environment unlike any other. Road conditions change with weather, traffic and construction. It is a very uncontrolled work environment. Many oil field locations are off the beaten path rarely on well paved highways and roads. Some roads to well sites can become downright slick when wet.
4. Distractions while driving include cell phones and internet equipped vehicles or any activity taking the drivers attention away from driving.
Driving is a big part of working in many industries and especially in oil and gas. Staying safe while driving is clearly critical as vehicle accidents claim the number one spot for worker injury and deaths in the U.S.
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