2018 Initiatives for WorkSafeBC in Oil and Gas

On November 29, 2017 WorkSafeBC presented a Pre-Drilling Season Update in Ft St John. Chemscape attended and I wanted to share some key points from this meeting. The Upstream Oil and Gas Industry in BC currently has 1,891 employers. Oil and Gas has the lowest injury rate of all classification Business Units in BC but they have one of the highest short term disability duration. Tragically, there has been 13 work-related deaths in the past 5 years.

A main message from WorkSafeBC was that exposure to hazardous chemicals remains a major risk for workers. Although injuries are down year over year drilling related work remains the highest risk for injury. Inspection reports and prevention orders have been increasing year over year.  In 2018, 95 Targeted Inspections occurred – 25 Occupational Exposure focused inspections.

In 2018, WorkSafeBC has an initiative in Oil and Gas to reduce the serious injury and fatality rate by implementing risk reduction tactics. WorkSafeBC predicts occupational disease claims and deaths to surpass the rates of injuries in the upcoming years.

Exposure Control Plan’s will continue to be a compliance focus for them in 2018 in Oil and Gas with a risk assessment of potential hazardous exposures including hydrocarbon based drilling fluids, aromatic hydrocarbons (benzene, toluene etc.), NORMS, Silica (new asbestos), Diesel exhaust. There are emerging concerns on welding fumes migrating through respiratory system/circulatory system and lodging in major organs as well as Ultra Violet Rays from the Sun as 1 in 3 new cancer diagnoses in Canada is now a skin cancer.

Some other Field issues which were addressed in the meeting include:

  • Proper respirator use and fit testing, being clean shaven. (OHSR 8.40(1-2)
  • Annual Hearing testing of workers (OHSR 7.8)
  • Immediate Reporting of Reportable Incidents
  • Having adequate Confined Space Entry Procedures: ability to identify all confined spaces by a Qualified Person; ability to conduct a proper hazard assessment of the CS’s by a Qualified Person; Failure to develop proper CSE prior to entry by a QP; Proper testing and monitoring of the atmosphere in the CS (before and during entry); Adequate continuous ventilation of the confined space, Proper supervision of confined space entry, adequate training of workers, Supervisors and persons conducting the CS assessments; and having ECP’s for hazardous products in the CS.
  • Tank cleaning safety concerns: having adequate grounding and bonding, adequately monitoring for hazardous atmospheres during cleaning, Vac trucks being equipped with rated hoses, valves and fittings; adequate training of all involved workers in regards to hazard assessments, proper SWP, use of equipment; having an ECP for exposure monitoring; having proper or appropriate PPE; disclosing and monitoring tank cleaning by parties commissioning the work.
  • Issues related to recent fire & explosion at well site due to vapor overflow at de-gasser.

Contact us at marketing@chemscape.com if you are interested in receiving the full report with all the field issues and concerns which WorkSafeBC encouraged all attendees at the meeting to share with their network.

A chemical management system can help address many of these issues. If you are challenged with this or developing Exposure Control Plans Chemscape can help.