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Help reduce injuries by rigging up safely

Employers can reduce injuries during drilling preparation by training workers to recognize hazards and practice appropriate safety procedures. During the rigging up process, work crews set up the equipment needed for oil and gas well drilling. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), rigging up can be dangerous.

Below are some of the hazards associated with each phase of the rigging up process and some precautions OSHA recommends to reduce injuries:

•    Substructure setup:  Falls, eye irritation, and being struck, pinched, or burned are all potential dangers workers face as they unload equipment and begin work on the substructure. When setting up the substructure, work crews can protect themselves by staying away from pinch points, wearing protective clothing to avoid burns, using appropriate eye protection and face protection for welding, refraining from looking directly at welding flames or arcs, and utilizing fall protection gear

•    Rig floor and derrick or mast setup: During this phase, workers are at risk of trips and falls, being hit by swinging objects or falling tools, being crushed or struck by equipment, or entangled in lines. To safeguard crews, it is important that all stairs and handrails are installed, inspected, and secured. Workers can also reduce injuries during guardrail installation and removal by using proper fall protection. Once assembled, guardrails should never be used as an anchor point, or for lifting or propping up loads. Use a tag line to direct equipment, rather than working beneath suspended loads

•    Raising the derrick:  Workers involved in this process could become entangled, crushed, or struck. Before raising the derrick, check for loose tools and uncoil all lines to ensure they are clear of workers. Only the operator who is raising the mast should be on the rig floor at this time. Attach tools hanging from the rig with safety lines and install the derrick’s emergency escape device according to manufacturer specifications

•    Power system installation:  Electrocution, shocks, trips, slips and falls on slick surfaces, chemical hazards, and being caught in pinch points are hazards during power system installation. To avoid falls, keep walkways and surfaces clear of slippery substances, cords, and hoses. When working with chemicals, workers can reduce injuries by using the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) like eye protection, gloves, and protective clothing. To help prevent machinery from becoming energized during set up, use appropriate lockout tagout procedures

•    Circulating system setup:  As workers set up mud tanks and lines, the main hazards they encounter are being caught, crushed, or struck by tools, a crane, and equipment. To stay safe during this process, workers need to be aware of and keep a safe distance from other workers swinging hammers, pinch points, and equipment that is moving or coming together. Hi-vis vests, t-shirts, and clothing provide added visibility for workers

•    Installation of remaining drilling and auxiliary equipment:  Workers who are installing and situating remaining materials and equipment are at risk of being caught, struck, or pinched. These injuries might happen during catwalk or pipe rack setup, or as tubulars are loaded onto racks. Workers can protect themselves by using tag lines to guide catwalks and pipe racks into place. During assembly, work crews should remain aware of moving objects and machinery

•    Inspecting the rig:  Once rig setup is complete, thoroughly inspect the rig to ensure all equipment and safety precautions are correctly in place. Reduce injuries by using appropriate fall protection equipment when inspecting the rig

•    Rigging down:  To avoid injuries while disassembling equipment after drilling, follow the same safety guidelines used during the rigging up process

Promote safe rigging practices by training workers to recognize hazards, engage in safe practices, and use proper PPE like eye protection, hard hats, work gloves, and foot protection.