The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Hess Bakken Construction Sites

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Hess Corporation is very busy developing well-pads in the Bakken field in North Dakota.  In order to minimize EHS risk to the workers on site, Hess has introduced a number of, what I feel are, best practices for remote-area construction sites.

Firstly, each of Hess' construction sites has a designated Person in Charge (commonly referred to as a PIC).

The PIC can be either a "working PIC", or where warranted, a "stand-alone PIC".  The working PICs will continue with their standard duties whereas a stand-alone PIC will act only in the capacity as site controller.

The PIC is clearly identifiable to visitors to Hess sites by use of an orange high-viz "PIC vest".

Secondly, Hess has introduced a construction sign-board which is used to prevent any visitor to site gaining access prior to a "meet and greet" by the PIC (see picture below).

Graham Marshall with a Construction Location EHS Sign on the Redsky Pipeline.

Thirdly, Hess has introduced a process whereby the PIC signs-in/out all site visitors; provides an overview of the hazards and hazardous activities being conducted on site; and inducts the visitor on the site Job Safety Analysis (JSA).

Information for visitors - what should you do?

1.  Stop at the designated entry point - shown by the EHS sign;

2.  Wait for the PIC to come to you;

3.  Receive the PIC briefing and ensure to ask any questions about site hazards if you are unsure;

4.  Follow the instructions of the PIC on where to park your vehicle;

5.  Ensure to sign onto the site register and the site JSA;

6.  (Optional).  The PIC may request that you develop your own JSA for work being done by you or your team;

7.  The PIC has the authority to refuse access to Hess sites if they believe you are in violation of any Hess EHS Rules or if you are not appropriately attired with the correct PPE.

Bullying at Work

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Our unique Think 6, Look 6 Hazard and Risk Management (HARM) Process enables the Risk Tool Box to assess the hazard - trigger - incident - consequence - and control sequence so that we arrive at a correct assessment of workplace HSE problems.

Unlike others who clearly do not understand the HARM process,  "bullying" for us is correctly identified as an "incident" in which the psychological hazard (i.e., the deliberate intention of the perpetrator) is released upon the bullied victim.

For us, neither bullying nor the stress it causes are the hazard.

Instead, bullying is the incident and the stress it induces is the "consequence" - the harmful outcome. 

Bullying incidents include both active (overt) and passive (covert) forms. 

Overt bullying incidents are seen with exposure of the victim to verbal and emotional abuse, verbal threats and coercion, intimidation, and physical assaults to the person. 

Active bullying can also include deliberate attempts to sabotage or steal the property of the victim.
Covert bullying in the workplace is more subtle but still contains the essential nature of a deliberate intention to cause harm to the victim together with the consequence of increase personal distress.

Covert bullying Includes such actions as denial of opportunities for growth (e.g., education and training), withdrawal of information required to complete a job (e.g., location or time of a meeting), allocation of low-level or menial work and inappropriate or unfair rostering practices (e.g., "rostered-on" during weekends, holidays, etc). 

In summary, when it comes to workplace bullying, at the Risk Tool Box we recognize the following key details:

One -  that the psychological hazard (the deliberate intention to cause harm) is the primary problem to be managed;

Two - that overt or covert bullying behaviour is the "incident" in which the victim is exposed to the psychological hazard; and

Three - that personal distress is the unwanted harmful consequence.

As with any other hazard management issue, we recommend both prevention controls that work to minimize the potential for bullying incidents to occur as well as escalation controls that reduce the severity of consequences.

This approach is undoubtedly the correct way to manage bullying in the workplace.

For more information, feel free to get in touch.

Oil and Gas Producers Show 2011

Graham Marshall - Monday, September 19, 2011
The Australian Oil and Gas Producers Show is scheduled to occur at the Mantra, Mooloolabra ( Queensland, Australia) on the 22nd to 23rd November 2011.  Speakers pencilled in for the programme include the following Australian industry big-hitters:

Ally Oliver, Operations Manager, Woodside Energy;

Bashkim Ferhati, Production Manager, Eni Australia;

Les Underhay, BG Group;

Chris White, Production & Engineering, Origin Energy;

Adamsyah Moeliah, Production Operation Supervisor, ConocoPhillips;
Dr Mofazzel Hossain, Senior Lecturer, Production Technology, Curtin University; and

Don Paulino, Senior Operations Manager, Shell (Pending).

The program includes a strong risk management and safety component.  Amongst others, Ally Oliver from Woodside will address Woodside's integrated safe system of work and Les Underhay from the BG Group will be covering contingency planning.

It looks like an interesting programme with enough HSE going on for safety professionals to put it in their diary.

Richard Standridge

Graham Marshall - Sunday, September 18, 2011

Richard, thank you very much for all your help and support over the last 15 weeks in ND.

50,000 visits to the Risk Tool Box Shop

Graham Marshall - Sunday, September 18, 2011
Since starting this web blog in January 2011, we're celebrating that we've had over 50,000 visitors to the Risk Tool Box Shop online.

After a slow start in January and February, we're now averaging about 6,000 visits per month to the Risk Tool Box with the numbers of visitors steadily growing month-by-month.

About 8 per cent of daily visitors to the Risk Tool Box Shop blog are making repeat visits.

If this is your first visit to our safety website feel free to jump from this post and use the tags (catalogue) or the monthly archive to the bottom-right of this article to read previous posts on a range of EHS and risk management topics.

Alternatively, you can find out about the safety products in our store by clicking the "Personal Safety", "Operational Safety", "Process Safety", "Behavioural Safety" or "Other Safety Tools" buttons at the top of the screen.
Lastly, please don't forget to leave us a comment if you find a post either interesting or useful (or both)!

Williston Basin Energy Festival 2011

Graham Marshall - Saturday, September 17, 2011

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the discovery of oil in the Williston Basin in North Dakota.

The Williston Basin Energy Festival will celebrate the momentous occasion of the discovery of oil in the Bakken Formation below the ND high prairie.

If you're in the western part of North Dakota today, get along to the City of Williston to see or take part in the big parade and then visit the Fairgrounds for a big variety of events. 

You'll find a food festival, face painting and games for kids, arm-wrestling, truck-pull and tug-of-war for grown-ups; as well as the Miss Williston Energy Pageant and a Sunset Dance with live music.

There is even a free BBQ!  Sounds like a great day out so make sure to get along.


Deep Vein Thrombosis

Graham Marshall - Friday, September 16, 2011
Because of the international nature of oil-field work, expatriate workers are at particular risk from deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) due to the travel demands of the job.

Long international flights from homes in the USA, Europe or Australia for oil-patch workers are quite common as they travel to fields across the globe.

In Australia, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) has noted a growing trend for workers traveling on long-haul flights to Australian oil and gas facilities to be reporting sick with DVT. 

DVT occurs when blood clots in a deep vein within the body - usually in the upper or lower legs.

DVT typically occurs when a person sits for a long time without contracting the muscles in the legs - as is typical on long-haul flights.
Blood then moves quite slowly and pools in the veins resulting in clotting and DVT.

It is suspected that the twin threats of keeping legs stationary combined with dehydration whilst flying interrupts the blood flow which causes clots.

The symptoms associated with DVT are not always obvious and a blood clot is not necessarily fatal.

But in some circumstances, however, the clots can become dislodged from the legs and travel to the lungs or brain causing strokes, organ damage, or death.

The good news, however, is that simple control measures are readily-available to most oil-field workers and other international jet-setters.  Here are some ideas for reducing the risk of DVT:

  • Periodically stretch out and move your legs and ankles and massage your calves while seated to stimulate blood circulation;
  • Don't cross your legs;
  • Remain hydrated, drink plenty of water or other non alcoholic fluids during your flight;
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption during flights as it causes dehydration;
  • Unless you can lie horizontally (i.e., in business or first-class), minimize the time you spend sleeping as you're less likely to be moving around;
  • Wear loose, non restrictive clothing during air travel; and
  • If safe to do so, get up and walk around a least once every hour.


Finally, upon arrival at your destination, if you feel in any way unwell report immediately to medical practitioner and let them know you've been flying recently.

Risk Assessment for Santos' Mereenie Oil Field

Graham Marshall - Thursday, September 15, 2011
I was recently commissioned by Santos to provide EHS risk assessment services at the Mereenie Oil Field in central Australia.

Getting to travel to Mereenie was a great experience as it is located close to the beautiful McDonald Ranges and between Alice Springs, Kings Canyon and Hoffmans Bluff meteorite impact crater.  

It is certainly a spectacular location for an oil project and I'm including some snaps I took during my visit to Mereenie.

Wild horses close to the Mereenie Staff Camp.

Mereenie Panoramic View.

Santos Risk Assessment.

Land transportation is a big risk factor for the Mereenie workforce.

Wildlife is abundant near the Mereenie oil field.

Hope you get the sense that Mereenie is a fantastic place.


Controlling Laundry Fires

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A recent fire in the laundry of Eni Australia's Onshore Gas Plant (Wadeye OGP) shows the need to operate and maintain laundry equipment in a safe way.

The keys to safe laundry work are good housekeeping and following the equipment makers instructions.

Why do laundy's catch fire?

The typical triggering mechanisms for laundry room fires include:

Firstly, the build up of lint which is not removed in accordance with manufacturers instructions.

Typically, lint builds up and is allowed to enter the internal section of the tumble-dryer where it comes into contact with the heater element prior to combustion.

Lint can also build up on air outlet of the dryer leading to a concentration of combustible material in the region of the air outlet.

Secondly, partially dried laundry can be taken out of a dryer prior to completion of the cooling cycle.

The problem here is that laundry removed before the completion of the cooling cycle has the potential to self heat and auto-combust.

Thirdly, if laundered items contaminated with organic oil residues (often found on tea towels) are overloaded into a tumble-dryer, self heating of the closely-packed items can cause ignition of the oils.

Finally, items other than laundry are sometimes mistakenly or deliberately placed in tumble-dryers and this can lead to combustion within the dryer.

What solutions are available?

1.  Regularly clean tumble-dryer lint filters.

2.  Vacuum tumble-dryer air outlets to remove the build up of lint.

3.  Always leave laundered items inside the tumble-dryer until the full cooling cycle is complete.

4.  Ensure laundered items that could contain organic oils are properly cleaned before loading into a dryer.
5.  Never overload a tumble-dryer.

6.  Check in the pockets of clothes or other places where combustible items could be concealed.

7.  Never attempt to dry combustible items inside a tumble-dryer.


Safe Use of Snatch Straps

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, September 13, 2011
The tragic death of an offroad enthusiast last month when hit in the head by a tow-ball during a vehicle recovery got me doing some research into the safe use of kinetic energy recovery ropes.

Below is some free advice on the do's and don'ts of snatching off-roaders from bogholes and sand-traps.

1. Always start by assessing the recovery options for the bogged vehicle.

2. Consider alternatives to a "snatch-em" strap - can it be manually maneuvered, winched or conventionally towed?

3. If the vehicles is grounded, clear under the vehicle body so it rests on its wheels and is free of the ground.

4. Depending on the availability of appropriate "anchor" points, trucks can be "snatched" forwards or backwards.

5. For either a forward or reverse recovery operation, place the recovery vehicle in line with the bogged vehicle.

6. Roll the strap out between the vehicles, and make sure there are no twists in the strap.

7. The distance between vehicles should be about 10 feet less than the un-stretched length of the strap.

8.  Ensure that the strap is not damaged and is in usable condition.

9.  Correctly attach the snatch-em strap to each vehicle.


10.  Only attach the strap to a vehicle recovery point or device that is suitably rated for use with the strap.

11.  If in doubt, don’t use a snatch-em strap.  Seek an alternative recovery method.

12.  Place a heavy bag or blanket over the strap during use to reduce unintentional rebound of the strap.

13.  Never exceed the Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS) of the strap or the Working Load Limit (WLL) of shackles.

14. Ensure that only the drivers of the bogged and recovery trucks are inside those vehicles.

15.  Ensure bystanders and other vehicles are well clear and to the side of the line of recovery.

16.  Agree on the location to which the bogged truck is to be recovered.

17.  The recovery truck should gently accelerate, taking up the slack and proceeding at no faster than 10 mph

18.  The bogged off-roader should be in 2nd gear and in low range, and the driver should try to drive out just after the recovery vehicle moves off.

19. If the stuck 4X4 is not recovered on the first attempt, reset the vehicles and recovery strap and try a little more speed by the recovery vehicle.

20.  Do not attempt to remove the strap until both vehicles are stationary, motors off and hand-brakes on.

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