Reducing Oil & Gas Industry Fatalities by Working with Qualified Contractors

Author: Rene Garcia

Reducing Oil & Gas Industry Fatalities by Working with Qualified Contractors

Earlier this month, a Tension Leg Platform located in the Gulf of Mexico suffered two fatalities and one injury during a routine and mandatory test of a lifeboat launch and retrieval capabilities. The incident is currently under investigation by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), and it is unclear if the disruption was caused by human error. Nevertheless, these casualties add to the growing statistic that shows the oil and gas industry as dangerous to its workforce and risky to any supply chain. 

Why Incidents Occur at Higher Rates in the Oil and Gas Industry 

Working conditions unique to the industry are partly responsible for injuries and fatalities. Workers are expected to work outdoors in various types of inclement weather conditions on and offshore. Weather types include hot summer days to heavy tropical storms. Additionally, the hours can be extremely long. Some shifts can last 12 to 14 hours a day for several days straight, which can lead to exhaustion and normalization to hazards. As a result, the risk of an accident occurring rises dramatically. 

One of the deadliest incidents occurred in 1988 on an oil production platform in the North Sea as the result of human error. A gas pump was not supposed to be turned on under any circumstance, but a second shift manager was not properly informed of that instruction. So, when the pump was started, it created continuous explosions that killed 167 men out of 226. 

Fatigued Driving in the Oil and Gas Industry 

Currently, the leading cause for work-related deaths in the oil and gas industry is fatigued driving, which accounts for over 40% of these incidents according to the CDC. Driver fatigue is often attributed to insufficient sleep, long distances traveled between well sites, and long work shifts. While nothing is more costly than loss of life, employers also incur hefty financial losses estimated at over $670,000 on average per incident. Legal settlements can cost the company even more. 

How Avetta Helps the Oil and Gas Industry Supply Chains Manage Risk 

As the oil and gas industry continues to grow, so does the demand for skilled workers. However, the supply of qualified employees is limited. And as employees retire or leave their companies, they are often replaced by contractors, who make up a large and growing percentage of the workforce. Contractors can be a practical and economical solution to labor shortages but also bring increased risk to the supply chain if they are not sufficiently qualified for the job. Companies must take steps to create a contractor management system to ensure that all employees and contractors have the necessary skills, are licensed and insured, and abide by safety requirements.

Avetta works with oil and gas companies to ensure contractors align with company standards and goals in areas such health and safety, PSM, insurance, cost, and other criteria. By increasing visibility in the contractor selection process, Avetta enables more informed decisions and reduced risk in the supply chain. Learn more about Avetta’s supply chain software can help companies in the oil and gas industry today. 

For more information visit, call 844-633-3801, or email 

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