Oil and gas extraction provides fuel and raw materials for plastic and synthetic material manufacturing. Surveys are conducted to find oil and gas deposits, wells are drilled to extract them, then pipeline and storage facilities collect oil and gas at land and at sea.
Safety starts with site preparation. Mobile construction equipment requires backup alarms to alert workers of their movements. Workers need high visibility clothing and good communication with the driver. Follow safe excavation and trenching procedures. Call 811 before you dig to avoid utilities and pipelines.
Once the drilling location is determined and prepared, rigging materials can be delivered and installed. Cranes and hoists move the heavy materials and lift finished structures. Only trained and certified operators should use a crane or hoist. This equipment should be inspected before each shift and maintained regularly. Don’t exceed equipment capacity. Know how to rig the load for stability and security. Keep communication between the crane/hoist operator and workers on the ground. Don’t lift loads over workers.
When drilling begins, a surface drill bit is fitted through a rotary table. Pipes are added to the drilling rig as the well deepens. Use good lifting techniques with the heavy drilling parts. Use assistive lift devices or additional help whenever possible. Otherwise keep a straight back and lift strongly with the legs to prevent strains and sprains. Keep your body parts away from rotating equipment and chains. Only place your hands in designated handholds to prevent caught and crush injuries.
During the drilling process, casing pipe may be added to reinforce the well walls. Drilling fluids (aka muds) are used to lubricate the drill, remove slag materials, and also balance pressure so that blowout doesn’t occur. Monitoring the drilling fluid is essential to keep the pressure in the well balanced. Review the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for these fluids and chemical additives.
When the well is completed and tested for production, more casing pipe and liners are cemented in place. The drilling rig is removed and a service rig places the production unit and tubing, or plugs and abandons the well. Follow safe lifting and hoisting procedures and keep away from rotating parts that can cause caught/crush injuries.
Prevent slips, trips, and falls during construction and use of the rigging. Wear steel-toed shoes with a slip resistant sole. Keep work areas clean of debris, tools, mud, and oil. Apply slip resistant surface treatments to walking surfaces. Install guardrails, handrails, and safety barriers around areas that could lead to falls and slips. Cover floor openings to prevent workers from falling through. Use fall protection when required.
Wear light layers and stay hydrated when working outdoors. Wear a hard hat, coveralls, and well-fitted gloves for protection. Monitor weather forecasts to prepare for storm conditions. Tools and equipment require frequent inspections. Hazardous and flammable gases may be released during drilling and extraction. Monitor the well pressure and environment. Control ignition sources and toxic gases. Use safe work procedures for hotworks welding, confined space entry, and emergency rescue and firefighting.