People maintain a romantic notion of the hard working and partially scarred man. Images of him walking towards their destiny, often something aflame, covered in protective clothing.
Protective gear and the hard-working, hard-bitten man don’t go together because somebody liked the visual. No, protective gear makes the man as much as the man makes the work.
An honourable company understands the importance of safety supplies and understands the importance of the lives they protect. A working man will take on any danger, but danger can be limited and defeated through preparation.
Understanding the uses and need for safety supplies ensures your company knows how to protect your workforce. The following comprehensive guide walks through the types of gear and how each helps to keep a workplace safe.
Oil fields contain myriad dangers. Each area provides different hazards and each hazard needs a different kind of protection. Common worksite hazards include:
To avoid these issues companies perform routine safety inspections. They perform and lead training for workers. The most important element though is PPE.
Personal Protective Equipment or PPE defines a broad category of safety gear worn by a worker. PPE needs to be comfortable and easy to move in.
PPE upgrades and advancements occur frequently. Knowing what gear works best for the environment, what gear protects best, and what gear lasts the longest form a pool of knowledge that saves workers.
Nearly 50% of all accidents in the industry happen to hands. Proper gloves prevent more lost work hours than any other PPE.
Gloves need to protect from a variety of injuries, so a worksite would be expected to have several types of safety supplies.
Gloves protect from extreme temperatures, impacts, abrasions, and amputations. The material of a glove helps denote its purpose.
Gloves also need to be comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time. They need to prevent substances getting in at the cuff. Finally, they need to be flexible enough so as not to limit manual dexterity.
A glove that makes a worker clumsy is a glove that makes work dangerous.
Safety glasses provide two vital functions at the same time. They prevent injury to the eye by providing a barrier between the eye and the outside world. Glasses also provide enhancements to vision to lower risk.
Glasses can provide vision enhancement through magnification or light. They can also prevent vision impairment through polarization and glare resistance.
Glasses in your safety supplies should be easy to wear and fit well. Gaps along the edges and pressure on the nose ensure a tight seal to prevent debris from entering. Glasses should have straps or anchors to prevent slippage and loss.
Helmets and hard hats protect from blows and falling objects. The suspension carriage of a helmet must fit well and be adjusted properly to provide both a comfort for a worker and provide a needed expansion zone to help protect against blows.
Helmets can have anchor points built in or on them to help secure other gear such as glasses, lights, and hearing protection.
Helmets need to be lightweight enough to prevent neck strain.
Earplugs and earmuffs work to lower decibels of noise. They should fit snugly so as not to be lost or shift unexpectedly.
Hearing protection should not completely block sound, as that will raise the risk of injury from unaware workers. Lowering decibels to within the 30-60 range ensures hearing won’t degrade but other workers and environmental sounds can be heard.
Boots protect feet from amputation, impact, and traction loss. Boots should not have loose laces or latches that can snag on clothing or equipment.
Boots need to have steel capped toes to prevent impact trauma. Treads and souls need to be kept in working order to prevent slips and also guard against punctures and tears.
Coveralls and full body suits protect from abrasion, fire, and cold. As safety supplies go, coveralls also do a fair amount of housekeeping.
Coveralls get dirty, which limits the debris and clutter following workers to bunks and campsites. This helps control material loss and keep job sites clean.
The comfort of coveralls becomes essential. Workers will want to think of them as a second skin since they will be worn for long periods of time and need to stay mobile and not bunch or bind.
Face shields will not be needed everywhere. These are more common in welding or blasting activities or areas where active chemical flows occur. Face shields protect the whole front of the head from flying debris and heat.
Masks prevent particulate accumulation over time. These are designed to reduce inhalation of small to fine particles and lower exposure to vapours or fumes. Masks are a form of a respiratory device, but they are separate categorically.
Masks work best as limited measures in medium to light danger areas. When exposure to toxic chemicals and vapours is mandatory use a respiratory device.
Respiratory devices protect against exposure to toxic chemicals, harmful vapours, and fine particulates that can accumulate over time.
Respiratory devices need to be checked regularly for damage and quality of the filter. Of all the safety supplies needed by an oil field worker, these are the only one where comfort takes a back seat.
A comfortable device helps the worker to stay on task, but as the harm from exposure can be severe, that pressure against the jaw from the seal can be as comforting as it is annoying.
Now that you have a better understanding of what safety supplies must be available to keep your workforce strong, consider getting some samples and trying them yourself.
Nothing replaces the first-hand experience with products. We are proud of what we do and the livelihoods we protect. If you have questions or concerns or need a consultation on options, contact us.