Reducing the Risk of Hazardous Substance Exposure in the Oil and Gas Industry

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Written by: alcumus
30th September

Employing over 21,000 workers in the UK, those working in sector can be exposed to hazardous substances and chemicals as part of their everyday work. While progress has been made in recent years to better protect workers and tighten up safety standards, effective health and safety management is essential to prevent and protect against workplace dangers both onshore and offshore.

And it seems that more needs to be done, based on the insights gained on COSHH compliance in the UK oil and gas industry:

  • 61% require more support and training on COSHH.
  • 58% believe COSHH management isn’t a top priority for their business.
  • 55% admit that more steps can be taken to ensure the health of workers.
  • 42% believe not enough is done to substitute or eliminate hazardous substances from their workplace.

To help meet the challenge of COSHH compliance, protect employees and avoid legal action, health and safety leaders in the industry have a vital role to play in reducing exposure to hazardous substances.

This starts with meeting the requirements of Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, 2002, which sets out eight measures that need to be taken:

  • Assessing the risks
  • Determine what precautions are needed
  • Preventing or adequately controlling exposure
  • Implementing and maintaining control measures
  • Monitor levels of exposure
  • Conducting appropriate health surveillance
  • Creating plans and procedures to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies
  • Making sure employees are informed, trained and supervised

COSHH covers a wide variety of substances that include:

  • All purchased hazardous materials a company may use
  • Substances that form naturally in the workplace
  • Substances that form as a result of workplace processes

Whether it has been brought onshore and offshore or created, if a substance poses a risk to somebody’s health, it requires a COSHH risk assessment.

Here are just some of the common COSHH challenges that our oil and gas customers have shared with us:

  • Limited resource in-house to manage COSHH compliance
  • Inaccurate Safety Data Sheets (SDS) to dictate how to use a hazardous substance safely
  • Lack of standardisation across COSHH risk assessments
  • Lack understanding and knowledge of how to manage COSHH

Failing to manage and control exposure has the potential to cause adverse health effects such as cancer and lung disease, occupational asthma and respiration irritation, as well as asphyxiation, fire and explosion and skin dermatitis.

Next steps

Working with businesses that include Total Energy, Maersk Drilling, Subsea 7, Petrogas and Stena Drilling, our expert chemical management team have over 40 years of experience and understand your challenges and what you need to do to overcome them.

Our new Alcumus eBook has been created by our in-house team to support your business to better understand hazardous substances and how you can manage them. Available to download for free, this looks at:

  • Occupational ill health in oil and gas
  • Overview of COSHH compliance (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health)
  • Common COSHH challenges in oil and gas
  • Combining technology and COSHH expertise to simplify hazardous substance management
  • What you can achieve with COSHH management software

Find out more about Alcumus Sypol winning combination of chemical management software and COSHH expert advisors at: www.alcumus.com/en-gb/management-hazardous-substances