Blackline Safety: Proactively reduce risk to oil and gas facilities and workers with safety technology
At every stage of the oil and gas production supply chain, from raw material extraction, transportation and storage, to refining and distribution processes, oil and gas operations require precise monitoring and real-time security conditions. This immediate visibility can protect workers, facilities and equipment from harm, ensuring that every worker returns home safe and sound at the end of the day.
With the advent of digital transformation and the IoT, connected security solutions have enhanced reactive compliance programs to proactive incident prevention, reducing risk to facilities and people.
What is a connected security solution?
Connected security solutions are comprised of a network of cloud-connected devices, including area monitors and personal wearables that, when paired with an online dashboard, provide complete visibility into the plant and worker safety. The data streamed from these devices puts powerful reporting capabilities (such as compliance reports) at a manager’s fingertips and further analysis of the data can also identify and predict potential hazards so that corrective actions can be taken before they become an incident.
How do connected security solutions reduce risks to facilities and workers?
The easiest way to explain connected security is to provide examples from the field. Here are examples of common risks in the oil and gas industry and how connected security solutions can reduce them.
Connect lone and remote workers.A common scenario in the oil and gas industry is working alone or in remote areas. This is especially true in upstream and midstream operations, where workers may move to various locations throughout a shift, but is also the case in large downstream facilities where workers may be off out of sight (and out of the sound) of their peers. The types of hazards that lone and remote workers face are diverse, including accidents while traveling, exposure to toxic or explosive gases, health issues, falls, bad weather, and even wildlife hazards.
A connected safety solution uses wearable devices with sensors and features to automatically detect falls, lack of movement, and missed check-ins, each of which may indicate that a worker needs help. Lone workers can also activate SOS alerts to immediately connect them to security monitoring personnel in the event of an incident requiring assistance. If exposure to toxic or flammable gases is a potential risk during their working day, lone worker devices are flexible and can be (re)configured to include single-gas or multi-gas detection capabilities. Knowing their staff in real time relieves security team leaders knowing that someone is monitoring their staff continuously and uninterrupted should the worst happen.
In many remote locations, cell service is limited, making it difficult for a worker to call for help and communicate with security personnel if they find themselves in a dangerous situation. The capabilities of satellite-connected security devices, such as the Blackline G7x Multi-Gas Pump Detector, to monitor and send critical data and worker location details and enable two-way text with security personnel can make the difference between life and death.
Protect your most valuable resource, your workers.
The death rate in the oil and gas industry is seven times that of American workers in general – 25.1/100,000/year.(CDC)
Continuous and real-time gas monitoring.
Because connected safety solutions continuously monitor gas levels in real time, they can identify potentially dangerous levels before they become an incident and cause damage to facilities, equipment and injury to the workers operating them. .
An excellent example of continuous monitoring is confined space entries (CSEs), such as storage tanks, sludge pits, process vessels and trenches, which are high risk because hazardous gases can quickly escape. concentrate to dangerous levels or displace oxygen in poorly ventilated spaces. The use of connected safety devices ensures that these areas are safe for workers before they enter and alerts them to evacuate if gas levels change and exceed safety thresholds.
Using connected safety devices, such as the G7 EXO Area Monitor or Blackline’s G7c Multi-Gas Pump Detector, ensures these areas are safe for workers before they enter them and alerts them to evacuate if gas levels exceed safe limits. And with an extended battery life of over 100 days, the EXO allows for extended CSE periods without the need for reauthorization.
In addition, continuous monitoring can identify gas leaks avoiding potentially catastrophic incidents. For example, 24/7 area gas monitoring can detect if equipment is gradually releasing more and more fumes in an area, indicating a need for repair or replacement. Because they are always connected, gas readings can be viewed in real time via the Blackline Live online dashboard.
Continuous monitoring should be considered in situations where a worker is in a space where atmospheric conditions may change (CCOHS).
Rationalization of evacuation management.
Flammable gases released from wellbores, storage tanks, production equipment, surface equipment such as shale vibrators, and many other sources on job sites pose a real risk of fire and explosion. In addition to explosive gases, there are several toxic gases in oil and gas production, such as hydrogen sulfide, which can leak and quickly lead to the need for evacuation. In the event of a facility emergency, connected security solutions also streamline reactive responses.
Continuous monitoring alerts safety personnel to sudden increases in hazardous gas levels, enabling rapid evacuation of workers from affected areas and ensuring that no worker is left behind. During an evacuation, team leaders can report on the location of each person wearing a connected security device in real time to ensure they safely reach muster points. Since worker locations can be seen on the Blackline Live portal, assistance can be dispatched directly to anyone not evacuating safely, rather than doing manual counts and dispatching search teams for anyone missing, saving critical seconds. Additionally, as connected devices capture a variety of data, rescue teams can determine the response needed, whether it is a fall, immobility, or exposure to high levels of gas where SCBA equipment may be required.
Fires and explosions are a leading cause of injury and death in the oil and gas industry(OHS online).
Predict security risks through data analytics. Unrecognized hazards may exist in a facility or workplace and may result in worker safety incidents or significant damage to equipment resulting in unplanned downtime and costs. Connected safety solutions combined with data science and analytics, such as those offered by Blackline Vision, can identify hazards before they harm workers or damage equipment. The ability to detect patterns through readings from connected devices allows security managers and operators to take proactive action.
For example, fall detection alerts in the same location may indicate a slippery surface due to oil and grease, and if reports indicate it’s only seasonal, it may be due to a patch of ice. Taking proactive measures by cleaning or de-icing to protect against serious falls keeps operations running smoothly and workers on the job.
On a larger scale, since all gas reading data is collected and delivered to the cloud, analytics of connected device data can be used to indicate areas of facilities at potential risk. Gas levels below the alarm threshold generally go undetected until an incident occurs. Reporting of these exposures enables operators to proactively repair leaking or faulty equipment. Preventative maintenance can mitigate a potentially major rescue and repair event.
At every stage of oil and gas production, connected upstream, midstream and downstream safety solutions are an effective way to proactively prevent safety incidents to protect both workers and the facility. , and react quickly to dangerous situations when they arise.
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