Today, the CSB reviewed the final report from the Aghorn Operating Waterflood Station incident that happened in October 2019 where an employee and the employee’s spouse were overcome with Hydrogen Sulfide fumes and both perished.
There were a number of safety issues that were found during the investigation, including:
– Lack of a personal H2S monitor
– Lock out/Tag out was not performed
– H2S was able to pool inside a pump house
– Non-functioning H2S alarm system
– Deficient Site Security
Which all tie in to the largest one:
– Lack of Safety Management Program
After working with a company with many remote locations, the report highlighted a number of items that need to have a higher visibility within the oil & gas industry. There are so many pump operators, measurement techs, piggers, maintenance personnel, pipeliners, and others that go to remote sites by themselves and have the potential to not go home at the end of the shift. When you are out at a remote location, do you think about all of the safety things mentioned in the report? How many times do you have your H2S monitor sitting in your cup holder and you think you will “just run out quickly to address this one little thing” and before you know it, H2S has leaked and it is now an issue for you.
During a site design, it may be determined that a pump house needs to be built, especially in the heat of west Texas, to protect workers when they need to do work on the equipment. Without adequate ventilation, that can quickly spell trouble for anyone inside that pump house, or other enclosure. A question was asked if the installed fan in conjunction with the overhead doors would have provided enough ventilation if there was an H2S release inside the building, and the company did not produce any models showing that the ventilation was ever calculated. Sometimes our sites are built quickly, or without proper engineering, and the result can be the loss of life.
The big takeaway from the investigation was that the company did not have written policies and procedures for any of their safety systems. On the job training is valuable and a great way for existing employees to be involved and invested in the on-boarding of new team members, however, that word of mouth training is not adequate to replace a written document that all personnel are trained on and held accountable to.
Before your facility has an incident, think about what your lack of a comprehensive Safety Management Program may lead to. And contact us to help you get up to speed before something happens.