Hazards Associated with Oil Gas Drilling string (the assembled collection of drill pipe, collars, tools, and drill bit). As the drill bores into the earth, additional drill pipes are connected at the

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<ul><li><p>2014 Robson Forensic OIL &amp; GAS DRILLING HAZARDS AND SAFETY</p><p>Hazards Associated with Oil &amp; Gas Drilling </p><p>Dangerous conditions often exist in drilling and other exploration and produc-tion servicing activities. The experts at Robson Forensic are frequently contact-ed regarding such incidents involving machine hazards, pressurized pipes and hoses, confined spaces, and the other incidents that arise with the normal use of heavy machinery and construction operations. In this article, Chuck Koch, CIH, a veteran safety inspector of the oil and gas industry, discusses some of the hazards associated with drill pipe break-outs and the specific controls de-signed to increase worker safety.</p><p>One of the many dangerous operations that take place during drilling for oil and gas is the breaking out of the pipe that is used during the drilling process. This process can be thought of as the disassembly of the individual pipe seg-ments that collectively make up the drill string (the assembled collection of drill pipe, collars, tools, and drill bit). As the drill bores into the earth, additional drill pipes are connected at the surface, until the well reaches the desired depth. When the well is eventually retired or abandoned, the drill string is extracted from the ground, disassembled, and stored for reuse. </p><p>To accomplish the break-out, workers use tools that are known as:</p><p> Tongs - large wrenches used for turning when making up or breaking out drill pipe</p><p> Cathead- an attachment around which rope for hoisting and moving heavy equipment is wound</p><p>During this operation the tongs are at-tached to the exposed drill pipe seg-ments and turned, using the mechanical power provided through the cathead. </p><p>PipeBreakHazards</p><p>These pipe break operations po-tentially expose workers to several dangerous conditions, including:</p><p> Being struck by swinging tongs if they break free from the pipe.</p><p> Being struck by the slip handles if the rotary table is used to spin the drill string.</p><p> Being struck by reverse backlash of tongs (backbiting) during break-out operations.</p><p> Being struck by the tongs if a snub line breaks or the tongs come unlatched.</p><p> Release of excess drilling mud resulting in skin contact, loss of footing, etc. </p><p>HazardMitigation</p><p>To mitigate the dangerous conditions that pipe breakout operations present to the worker there are several possi-ble solutions that can be implemented by the drill rig operator. These controls and safe work practices include: </p><p>1. Requirements for operations person-nel other than the tong operators to </p><p>stand outside the tong swing radius when breaking a pipe.</p><p>2. Excluding personnel from standing in the red zone or hazard area.</p><p>3. Instructions for safe tong latching techniques and the use of safe hand and finger placement on tong handles.</p><p>4. Requirements for workers to stand a safe distance from the drill rig rotary table when it is rotating.</p><p>5. Operational procedures to safely make high torque connections.</p><p>6. Requirements for the inspection of each tong die and snub line, prior to and during the drilling operations.</p><p>7. Procedures and training on the means and methods for communica-tion between floor hands and the driller. </p><p>8. Procedures for the use of a mud bucket to direct mud down into the rotary table.</p><p>9. Requirements and procedures for closing the mud saver valve, if pres-ent, on the drill rig. </p><p>Training and instructing the worker to recognize these hazards and use the appropriate tools, personal protective </p><p>equipment and safety procedures can mitigate the dangerous conditions and prevent worker injuries. The boom and bust nature of oil and gas produc-tion regularly causes personnel to be rushed in and out of service; this condi-tion further increases the importance of effective safety training. </p><p>CharlesM.Koch,CIH,MPHCertified Industrial Hygienistckoch@robsonforensic.com Charles Koch is a Certified Industrial Hygienist with extensive experience supporting the environmental health and safety programs at onshore oil and gas operations. Mr. Koch has provided technical safety engineering and risk assessment for onshore oil and gas upstream and midstream gas plants and compressor stations. He was a member of teams which reviewed engi-neering design, procurement, construc-tion, installation, and commissioning activities of major oil &amp; gas construction projects in Colorado and Wyoming. </p><p>Drill Pipe Break-Outs</p><p>www.robsonforensic.com | 800.813.6736</p><p>Tongs</p><p>Drill Pipe</p></li></ul>