Offshore drilling safety rule gets update

Offshore drilling safety rule gets update

Photo: Chemical Safety Board

Washington — The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is reinstating several previously withdrawn provisions of a final rule intended to address gaps in offshore drilling safety identified after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

BSEE developed the 2016 Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control final rule after its investigation of the Deepwater Horizon incident concluded that the rig’s blowout preventer, or BOP, was a main contributor to the explosion. Eleven workers were killed and millions of barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast.

Citing “unnecessary regulatory burdens,” a 2019 revision rule rolled back about 20% of the original rule’s 342 provisions, including those concerning BOP design, maintenance and repair.

Provisions of the updated regulation include requiring:

  • BOPs to be able to always close and seal the wellbore to the well’s maximum anticipated surface pressure, except as otherwise specified in the BOP system requirement section of the regulations.
  • Failure data to be reported to both a designated third party and BSEE.
  • Failure analysis and investigations to begin within 90 days of an incident.
  • Independent, third-party qualifications to be submitted to BSEE with the associated permit applications.
  • The operator to provide BOP test results to BSEE within 72 hours after completion of the tests if the agency is unable to witness testing.

“Finalizing this rule will enable BSEE to continue to put the lives and livelihoods of workers first, as well as the protection of our waters and marine habitats,” BSEE Director Kevin Sligh said in a press release.

The rule is set to go into effect Oct. 23.

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Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

NIOSH video tells truckers about safe transfer of process fluids

Original article published by Safety+Health
Photo: NIOSH

Washington — A new video emphasizes safe work practices for truck drivers transferring process fluids such as oil and gas from wells to other locations.

Developed by NIOSH, the video notes that from 2016 to 2020, at least 12 workers died while transferring fluids at well sites. The deaths resulted from cardiac events, combustion-related explosions, struck-by vehicle incidents, exposure to hydrogen sulfide and heatstroke.

During fluid transfers, flammable atmospheres present a hazard to workers, the agency warns. In addition, when fluid tanks are under pressure, hydrocarbon gases and vapors can escape, creating potentially toxic and oxygen-deficient surroundings that may cause damage to a worker’s eyes, lungs, central nervous system and heart.

In the 11-minute video, NIOSH encourages employers to select and implement effective controls from the Hierarchy of Controls. Engineering controls include safely venting or containing process fluid vapors by using a vapor recovery unit, as well as using conducting hoses and closed connections for fluid transfers. Administrative controls include worker training and workplace policies. Employers also should train workers on the proper use of personal, multiuse gas monitors and how to confirm the devices are functioning properly and placed within the worker’s breathing zone.

“Oil and process fluids can be transferred and transported safely and with minimal risks,” the video says. “But to do so, employers and workers must understand the hazards, know the risks, and be able to apply the appropriate controls under the appropriate circumstances to control the hazards and mitigate the risks involved. Doing so each time will save lives.”

McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, USDOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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