Fire Safety: Steps to Conducting a Fire-Risk Assessment in the Oil & Gas Industry

Fire Safety: Steps to Conducting a Fire-Risk Assessment in the Oil & Gas Industry

20th July 2020

Fire-related accidents are more common in the oil and gas industry than in any other industry. The industry records the highest number of injuries, deaths, and damages from fires and explosions. Fortunately, fire-risk assessment is one of the most effective ways you can prevent fires from happening in your company. This piece contains the steps to follow when conducting a fire-risk assessment for your oil and gas organisation. But first, ensure you’ve installed the necessary access equipment such as fixed access ladders on high buildings and tanks.

  1. Group Selection

You’ll need to select a group of personnel who’ll be involved in the fire-risk assessment process. You need to choose people with proper knowledge about the worksite and different pieces of equipment to be assessed. If you’ll be working with a larger group, you may consider assigning different people to areas they are very familiar with. You’ll then combine the findings from various sources for a detailed site analysis. The group could include supervisors, safety officers, safety committee representatives, and first responders.

  1. Training

You don’t want to miss out on anything during your fire-risk assessment, which is why it’s important to properly train the group prior to the assessment. Training is vital before any assessment to ensure the audience is directly involved and participating. You can analyse all the possible fire hazards in the workplace and rank each hazard as low, medium, or high risk. This categorisation will enable your workforce to understand the different hazards and what they need to prevent fire and explosions. Training is also important to help inform the group about the importance of wearing the right personal protective equipment (PPE) while carrying out the assessment.

  1. Identify Potential Sources and Locations

At a typical oil and gas industry, there are quite a number of potential sources for release of flammable vapours and gases that could result in a disaster if not addressed and fixed as soon as possible. These could include the production tanks, frac tanks, flow back tanks, and wellbores. You’ll need to evaluate the locations of the potential sources and their relations to on-site ignition sources. Combustibles and equipment should be kept at a safe distance from the potential sources. You can also consider laying fire blankets over them to protect and prevent fires and explosions. Common ignition sources on-site in most oil and gas worksites include open flames, internal-combustion engine sparks, electric power tools, welding operations, smoking, portable generators, and vehicles with catalytic converters.

  1. Weather Conditions

Changing weather conditions can change the potential for the ignition of gases and vapours from motorised equipment and vehicles nearby. Strong winds and high temperatures are the common weather conditions you should consider. The assessment helps create the need to safely position vehicles and motorised equipment, especially when conducting operations such as servicing, drilling, and production.

  1. Include Fire-Risk Hazards in Job Hazard Analysis

Fire hazards are a common threat to most manufacturing industries, especially the oil and gas industries. Job hazard analysis (JHA) for your oil and gas worksite is very essential to ensure you’re all prepared to tackle any emergency before it becomes a disaster.