Transporting is an imperative part of working in gas and oil, and it happens every day. This includes transporting people, products, equipment and more over long distances, rough terrain and remote areas. Many of those products are hazardous, the equipment is heavy and dangerous and people are priceless. So what can you do to ensure that you are safely transporting oversized loads? We have a few ideas…
The Impact of Transportation Safety
Transportation doesn’t have an immediate payout, so it might not get the attention it deserves. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 41% of oil- and gas-related deaths happen during transportation, so safety cannot be overrated. The basic tasks and hazards of transportation can be broken down into three categories:
- Loading and Securing the Equipment
- Transporting Equipment to the Job Site
- Unloading Equipment
Loading and Securing Equipment
The first step in safe transport is loading your equipment. Depending on the job, this will happen in various locations, and you need to be prepared to load anywhere. From uneven loading docks to slippery surfaces, there are countless environmental hazards. Luckily, these situations are easy to contend with by following a few precautions.
Use a Spotter for Loading
A spotter can watch equipment and materials as they are being loaded. This person shouldn’t assist in the load, because they won’t be able to give their full attention to potential safety hazards.
Secure all loads before you move. This involves some physics knowledge and a complex understanding of the weights, measurements and tension. Securing equipment brings with it multiple hazards, too. Objects could be poorly secured, straps could have too much tension, weight could shift, etc. It’s extremely important to keep every aspect of this process safe.
Use Proper Securing Tools
If you start out with improper binders, ratchets or straps, the load is unlikely to be very secure. Therefore, you should make sure you have the right product for the job.
Transporting Equipment to the Job Site
Did you know? 75% of oil and gas transportation related deaths happened on the highway. Roads pose the highest risk in gas and oil transportation because you can’t control the environment, conditions and objects encountered on the road. Narrow roads and bridges, excessive driving speed on your part and from other drivers, wide or sharp turns, loose gravel or soil and overhead power lines are just a few obstacles to safely transporting oversized loads from point A to point B.
Appoint a Journey Manager
OSHA recommends appointing a journey manager for transport activities, and it can be a big help. A journey manager will chart a transport route, learn and manage any road restrictions and operate an escort vehicle if needed.
Unloading can sometimes be even more dangerous than loading. Loads can shift during travel (causing the balance of objects to shift), which creates a potential for heavy falling objects. Additionally, there’s the possibility of built up tension in the straps, causing them to snap and injure employees. Still more, winch cables might also break, objects could strike or catch other objects or people or loads could fall.
Use a Spotter for Unloading
Much like in loading equipment, a spotter can be very helpful in the unload process. A spotter can watch for strap tension, shifting equipment or pedestrians walking into the hazard zone.
Control the Environment
During unloading, you have a little more control over the environment. Make sure the area is flat and clean of any dangerous debris and clear the area of extraneous team members. Do everything you can to make sure you are unloading in a safe environment.
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