New hazard alert from OSHA and NIOSH highlights dangers of tank gauging

New hazard alert from OSHA and NIOSH highlights dangers of tank gauging

A new hazard alert from OSHA and NIOSH identifies health and safety risks to oil and gas industry workers who manually gauge or sample fluids on production and flowback tanks.

The alert titled, “Health and Safety Risks for Workers Involved in Manual Tank Gauging and Sampling at Oil and Gas Extraction Sites” provides specific recommendations for employers that protect workers from hazards associated with opening tank hatches to manually gauge or sample hydrocarbon levels. The recommendations fall into the categories of engineering controls, work practices, and personal protective equipment.

“It has been known for years that oil and gas extraction is extremely dangerous work, with high rates of workplace fatalities. We also know that every incident is preventable,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “It’s critically important that we all work together to make sure that oil and gas extraction workers are aware of life-threatening exposure to hydrocarbon gases and vapors and low oxygen atmospheres, and that they are protected.”

“The expansion of the oil and gas extraction industry has led to new opportunities, but also new risks for workers,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “This joint alert highlights the importance of remaining vigilant about the safety and health of our nation’s workers as our nation changes and adapts to these new opportunities.”

The alert highlights research from both OSHA and NIOSH which has shown that workers at oil and gas extraction sites may be exposed to very high concentrations of hydrocarbon gases and vapors when manually gauging or sampling production tanks.