20 Feb Pyroban tackles workplace fatalities and injuries
Globally, the fatality rate for oil and gas workers is seven times higher than other industries, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fires and explosions are listed as key contributor to worker deaths and serious injuries.
Fortunately, Australia’s oil and gas sector has a far better safety record, attributed to stringent health and safety legislation and a strong culture of supporting safe working conditions.
By its nature, the industry is high risk. Operators are dealing with highly flammable substances continuously. There are two key contributors required for fire – an ignition source and fuel. Oil and gas are obvious fuels –flammable gases and vapours can be released from a multitude of sources such as wellbores, holding tanks, shale shakers, production equipment, generators and vehicles.
In many cases, such gases, released at high pressure, can be highly volatile, meaning that any contact with an ignition source, such as a spark, can have immediate and disastrous results.
It is therefore vital that effective and reliable mitigation steps are put in place to ensure any contact between ignition sources and fuel is eliminated. It’s a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week requirement for operators and contractors to remain vigilant.
One of the problems associated with the high fatality and injury rate in other parts of the world is diesel engines maintenance. Engine power is required for all manner of operations at oil and gas facilities, but in many cases operators try to maintain costs by engaging in reactive rather than proactive maintenance.
The issue is that there are many potential sources of ignition within a diesel engine, ranging from electrical, mechanical or static sparks, to over-speed or flame transmission from inlet or exhaust, to hot surfaces. One small spark may have devastating consequences for workers, assets, the environment and continuity of production.
In an industry requiring extensive use of diesel engines, it is essential to ensure they are explosion proof if operating in Zone 2 hazardous areas. It is also vital to ensure engines are regularly checked and proactive, risk-based maintenance schedules are adhered to at all times.
It is also important to start with the right equipment, thus reducing risks in the first place.
Engine Protection Equipment is a supplier of Pyroban’s HazPak™ engines.
The explosion protected engine packages come ready to use in hazardous areas and are certified, where applicable, to ATEX 2014/34/EU and NEC 505/NEC 500.
Each packaged engine features an air inlet shut-off valve, air inlet flame arrestor, water-cooled turbocharger and exhaust manifold, exhaust gas heat exchanger, thermal control and treatment, exhaust flame arrestor and a certified spark arrestor.
Similarly a rated alternator, battery and radiator can also be added to the kit along with advanced control systems if required.
EPE can also assist with the supply of a range of replacement parts for use in hazardous areas and this will be the focus of our attendance at the Australasian Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference at Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre from March 11-13.