The ignition of vapors emitted from vehicles or motorized equipment can result in worker fatalities. In order to prevent these fatalities, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the National Service, Transmission, Exploration and Production Safety Network, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have worked together to create a hazard alert that not only addresses the risks associated with ignited vapors but also suggests preventative measure and engineering controls.
Vehicles and other motorized equipment can present a hazard if they are too close to a flammable source, such as a wellbore or frac, production or flowback tanks. The hazard alert advises the use of a Fire Risk Assessment to make sure that motorized equipment is situated in a safe place while in use.
The hazard alert also recommends that employees should be familiar with the protocols for when an area needs to be evacuated due to the presence of a gas or vapor cloud from an overactive engine. Workers should also be aware of the disaster procedures and specific duties when operations have to be shut down.
Employees are responsible for recognizing possible sources of gas and flammable vapors and evaluating their position in relation to other potential ignition hazards on the worksite. It is important to consider variable winds, temperature and other weather factors when assessing ignition sources.
According to the hazard alert, vehicles and motorized equipment should only be used within established zones. There should also be set entry routes and boundaries.
Those who are hurt on the job due to inadequate or nonexistent workplace safety policies and procedures may wish to consult with personal injury attorneys. A lawyer can examine the factors of a case and advise his or her clients of their legal options, which may include filing claims for workers’ compensation benefits or third-party lawsuits against the negligent parties.