SHIFT YOUR WORK
SILICA DUST: IT WILL TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY
Reducing your risk to a dangerous hazard
SAFETY IN ACTION
Knowledge of body
HEADS UP! YOUR BRAIN IS WORTH PROTECTING
BEHIND THE MASK Enform Q & A
EVERY DAY IS DIFFERENT BEHIND THIS WHEEL
THE EXPLORERS AND PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
SAFETY IN ACTION
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ON AND OFF THE JOB
President & CEO Cameron MacGillivray Vice President, Communications & PetroLMI Carol Howes Manager, Communications Amy Krueger Director, Communications Viola Midegs Sr. Advisor, Communications Dana Banks Editor Terry Bullick, Bullick Communications Design, Production & Project Management Kylie Henry & Katherine Stewart, Studio Forum Inc.
Contributors Jennifer Allford, Colleen Biondi, Lavonne Boutcher, Mike Fisher, Des Kilfoil, Jerry Gerling, Nicole Noyce, Scott Rollans, Jason Stang, Sanjel, Techmation and Frankie Thornhill
Every second counts when it comes to safety
These boots are made for . . .
NATURAL CAN BE HAZARDOUS
Fall has its risks
Before you chop Reading this will take . . . Stay safe and . . . working Reverse logic
Behind the mask
Safety is woven into Techmation's operations
KNOWLEDGE OF BODY
9 SHIFT YOUR WORK
Printing McAra Printing, Calgary, Alta.
Heads up! Your brain is worth protecting
ENFORM Q & A
Every day is different behind this wheel
Frontline is published three times a year. Statements, opinions and viewpoints expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the views of Enform. Copyright 2015 by Enform. Canada Post Publication Mail Agreement #40006922 For advertising rates or for consent to reprint or redistribute content in the publication, contact Enform at: email@example.com Head Office: 5055 - 11 Street NE, Calgary, Alta, T2E 8N4 P 403.516.8000Â | F 403.516.8166 Enrolment Services & Certificate of Recognition: 1.800.667.5557
SILICA DUST: IT WILL TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY
ON THE COVER
Breathing easier: Sanjel training coordinator Scott Donaldson was photographed by Jason Stang at the Sanjel Corporation Professional Park in Alberta.
A long day leads to a longer recovery
To read this publication online visit enform.ca
To learn more about your safety and what Enform is doing to help you protect yourself, follow us on
Frontline Fall 2015
On and off the job
EVERYSECOND COUNTS WHEN IT COMES TO SAFETY
It’s safe to say that we humans are smarter than a goldfish. That might not be enough. A study earlier this year by Microsoft Corp. made headlines across the country when researchers found Canadians now have a shorter attention span than goldfish (see Reading This Will Take More Than 8 Seconds. Can You Do It? on page 6). This is thanks largely to smartphones and other pocket-sized electronic devices. Microsoft's study found our attention span today is eight seconds long, compared to 12 seconds long 15 years ago. A goldfish's attention span is believed to be nine seconds long. While the current difference between us and goldfish may only be a second, when it comes to safety every second counts. Correction: every split second counts. I’m not suggesting distraction is the root cause of every injury in the energy business, but distraction is certainly a growing problem on the job, on the road and anywhere else you find people preoccupied with not just smartphones, but also the demands of everyday life.
Lose your focus and you could lose a limb, your livelihood, your life. Safety takes focus. Focus is in huge supply at Techmation, a company based in Airdrie, Alta. that provides electrical and instrumentation services to the oil and gas industry. The firm (featured in our Safe Company column on page 21) has gone more than 5,000 straight days without one employee having a single serious incident on the job and driving to and from the job— an impressive record considering Techmation employees cover 23 million kilometres a year. It shows you what can be accomplished when everyone in a company is truly focused on safety. And it’s proof that our attention span can outlast a goldfish’s.
Cameron MacGillivray | Enform President & CEO
BEFORE YOU CHOP01 It’s one thing when a tree falls on its own . . . it’s quite another when you’re cutting it down. Before you go all Paul Bunyon on your next escape to the woods, consider these tips— they’re among those trained tree fellers in the oil and gas industry use to assess dangerous trees before they start chopping.
LIFELINES WRITTEN BY JENNIFER ALLFORD
If you're felling a tree
Enform's Dangerous Tree Control Guideline can help you figure out the risks of cutting down or even being around a tree. If you're big into felling trees, check out Enform's Level 1 Chainsaw Basics course.
LOOK UP & AROUND
Check for nearby overhead lines, roads, buildings, people and wildlife. If wildlife depends on a tree—say when a hawk or an eagle has built a nest atop it or a bear’s using it for a den, then by law it can’t be taken down. Risks such as limb, trunk and root decay can be harder to assess; here again Enform’s guideline can help; visit Enform.ca for details.
MIND THE WIND
When the wind blows 40 km/h or more (enough to move large branches), oilpatch workers stop felling trees. Need we say more?
THE DOPE ON THE SLOPE
When a tree is on a slope it’s always harder to take down than a tree on level ground. And it gets even harder if the slope is wet, icy or slippery. Not only is it tougher for you to have secure footing, but a tree can also slide faster and further when it comes down.
Frontline Fall 2015
The 8-second attention-span challenge
READING THIS WILL TAKE MORE THAN 8 SECONDS. CAN YOU DO IT? You’ve probably had a chuckle at references poking fun at our increasingly short attention spans (“I don’t have a short attention . . . Oh, look a squirrel!"). But there’s nothing funny about the fact that distraction is a leading cause of death and injury on the roads and it’s linked to an alarming number of incidents in the workplace. With a constant stream of information at our fingertips along with the day-to-day demands of busy lives, it can be a struggle to pay attention to the task at hand. A recent study suggests our average attention span is less than that of a goldfish. That’s right. A goldfish, which is believed to have an attention span of nine seconds. This nugget of knowledge comes from a 2015 study by Microsoft Corp., which found Canadians’ current average attention span is only eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000.
Put down your phone and pick up these tips to help you focus:
GO FOR A WALK
GET SOME EXERCISE
You could say it’s the oldest trick in the stress-reduction book.
Centuries of philosophers can’t be wrong.
Getting your blood moving gets endorphins flowing in your brain.
From Olympians to the ordinary, stopping and concentrating on nice big deep breaths—even for two minutes—will calm you and your busy brain.
Take 10 minutes, or more, and just go for a walk. As your feet move, you’ll feel your brain reset. You get bonus points if you walk in a natural setting.
And when those feel-good neurotransmitters kick in, you’ll enjoy a better mood and calmer mind.
STAY SAFE AND. . .
“Miniscule circumstances” are often the difference between a near-miss incident on the job and a lifelong debilitating injury, or even death. Every year, too many people find that out the hard way. In Saskatchewan in 2013 alone, 775 people experienced some form of disability because of a work-related injury. “When you put yourself at risk, everything you do is a roll of the dice,” says Phil Germain, vice president of Saskatchewan’s WCB and part of WorkSafe Saskatchewan. An injury can significantly change what you make—and what you do. “Most people are not interested in gambling with their careers,” Germain says. “If you go from whatever salary you’re making to having some form of permanent disability where you can no longer do that job, what are you going to do?”
STRAIGHT AHEAD TIPS FOR DRIVING BACKWARDS
1. DO THE 360
4. PUT IT IN REVERSE
Before you hit reverse, check your mirrors and look over both shoulders for people, animals or objects in your path.
Sure, it’s the gear that moves your vehicle backwards. But it also activates the lights on your vehicle that signal your intent to everyone around you.
2. LOOK FOR LANDMARKS
Use them to help navigate your way.
5. KNOW WHEN TO STOP
3. USE A SPOTTER
If you lose sight of the spotter or lose your way, just stop and go back to the beginning with the 360.
Have a chat first to make sure you understand the same six hand signals: emergency stop, planned stop, proceed slowly, left and right turns, distance to stopping and clear to leave area (see Give a Driver a Hand in Frontline Winter 2015).
6. REMEMBER THE GOAL When all else fails think GOAL: get out and look.
It all comes down to being present in the moment: being aware of what you’re doing and watching for and minimizing the risks around you. Whatever you’re doing and
Frontline Fall 2015
FULL-FACE POSITIVE-PRESSURE SUPPLIED AIR RESPIRATOR Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) is nasty. So it’s best to wear a mask before you need it. As you’ve probably already learned in H2S Alive, without a mask once the noxious gas hits 20 to 100 ppm (parts per million) your eyes will burn and it will be hard to breathe; at a mere 250 ppm, you’ll lose coordination, vomit, get fluid in your lungs and gasp for breath. So, yeah, don’t mess with it. Instead, put one of these bad boys on—with either an airline or SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus). Make sure it’s properly maintained and regularly fit tested according to CSA standard Z94.4-02 and perform a seal check every time you wear it (for men this means you’ll need a daily shave and for anyone with hair on their head, make sure it doesn't interfere with the seal). When working with a fullface mask, take frequent breaks—you’ll need them.
MATCH YOUR MASK TO THE TASK.
BEHIND THE MASK WRITTEN BY
Half-face respirators fitted with filters or chemical cartridges protect you from airborne particulates and contaminants. The letter in the rating tells you whether the filter is oil-resistant (P), somewhat oil-resistant (R) or not oil-resistant (N). The number tells you how effective it is in removing the smallest particles. For example, an N95 will filter 95 per cent, but won’t work well if oil is present. A P100 is oil-proof and removes virtually all of the particles. In environments that may be oxygendeficient, you’ll need a respirator with a positivepressure air supply.
It's important to know when to wear a mask—and what kind of mask to wear Let’s face it: wearing protective masks can be hot, uncomfortable and restricting. But, in the oil and gas industry, protective masks come with the territory—and they can save your eyesight, face, lungs and life.
As your work demands it, make sure you have the right mask for the job at hand. If you don’t know whether you need one, or if you’re unsure how to properly use one, always check with a supervisor—they’re paid to know this stuff.
If you’re around anything that can splash, spray, or shoot sparks and debris, save face. Wear a face shield—rated class 6B or 6C if heat or sparks are involved—to protect your eyesight (not to mention your precious good looks). Keep it nice and clean, so you can always see what you’re doing—on the job or in your garage workshop.
KNOW YOUR STUFF If your work and pastimes involve any type of PPE (personal protection equipment), do your homework. Two great places to start: Alberta Occupational Health and Safety at work.alberta.ca U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at cdc.gov/niosh
Shift your work
SILICA DUST: IT WILL TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY REDUCING YOUR RISK TO A DANGEROUS HAZARD
A mountaintop view can momentarily take your breath away. A jump into a northern lake will likely do it. But the thing that can literally take your breath away is dust.
MAIN STORY WRITTEN BY FRONTLINE EDITORS SIDEBARS BY TERRY BULLICK PHOTOGRAPHED BY JASON STANG
Frontline Fall 2015
Shift your work
SILICA ISN’T A NEW WORKPLACE HAZARD, BUT ITS GROWING USE IN OILFIELD OPERATIONS IS PROMPTING EFFORTS TO PREVENT WORKER EXPOSURE
Yes, common dust. The kind you’ll find at construction and hydraulic fracturing sites. The fine silt generated through sandblasting, drilling, concrete repair, dry handling of powdered products—and a multitude of other common, everyday worksite activities. Most dust contains crystalline silica—a mineral that makes up nearly all of what we call sand and rock. It’s in masonry, tiles, granite, brick, concrete, grout, mortar, paint and asphalt. It’s also in the abrasives used in blasting, the dust on roads and the sand used in oilfiied operations. When dormant, silica dust is harmless. But when it's disturbed and airborne, it becomes a real danger because it can be inhaled. “Prolonged or intense inhalation thickens the lining of your lungs," says Robert Waterhouse, a certified industrial hygienist and program manager for Industry Development at Enform. “Lungs can become an opaque mass and lose the ability to expand and contract.” The result: silicosis—a disabling, sometimes fatal lung disease that can make breathing as if through a straw. Exposure to crystalline silica has also been linked to bronchitis, tuberculosis and lung cancer. Silica isn’t a new workplace hazard, but growth in operations such as hydraulic fracturing has prompted companies in Canada’s oilpatch to redouble efforts to prevent worker (and environmental) exposure. Fracturing is the process in which cracks in and below the earth's surface are opened and widened by injecting water, chemicals and sand (proppant) at high pressure. The sand holds fissures open and allows petroleum products such as oil and gas to flow out of a shale structure into the well. Today's fracturing operations can use up to 1,000 tonnes of sand a day, and the handling of more sand can increase dust levels.
Get the full func(tion): personal protective equipment made to reduce exposure to silica dust needs to be worn and maintained properly to fully function.
Sanjel's approach to reducing workers' risk of exposure to silica dust includes a company-wide awareness plan and specialized training for new employees.
“Depending on how it’s produced, processed, handled, loaded, trucked, unloaded and stored, fracking sand can kick up billowing clouds of fine dust that can move and settle across an entire worksite," Waterhouse says. "without engineering controls, managing this hazard can be very challenging for adjacent workers." Patrick Delaney, vice president of Health and Safety at the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC), says oil and gas companies are working diligently to stay on top of the issue. “By law, companies working with silica must have policies and processes in place to reduce the risk of workers’ exposure,” he says. “I know that all PSAC members that have silica in their operation are taking measures.”
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SILICA DUST Know a site's hazards. Get details from safe work permits, pre-job meetings or the supervisor. Know the sources See sidebar: 10 Common Sources on page 13. Wear the gear Personal protective equipment such as a respirator (mask), coveralls and gloves. This stuff isn’t a fashion statement. But it can be life-saving, as long as you wear and maintain it properly. A full-face mask is often required when working close to a dust source. Follow company policy for storing and maintaining PPE. Keep an eye out Watch yourself and those around you for heat stress, restricted vision and allergic reactions. Also, watch for shifts in wind speed and direction. Take it off Remove contaminated protective clothing and equipment, and wash your hands before eating, drinking, or moving to another work area. Do not eat, drink or smoke in areas exposed to silica. Remember to decontaminate yourself and your gear when you finish your task or shift.
CASE STUDY: SANJEL’S TOUGH STANCE ON SILICA Responsive. Aggressive. Proactive. That’s how Tammy Irving, group leader of Canadian Occupational Health with Sanjel, describes her company’s approach to reducing its employees’ exposure to silica dust. Sanjel is a global leader in energy services, including fracturing and cementing. “I feel very good about our safety program because we’ve done a lot and given employees in the field an understanding of the hazards and they’ve truly worked hard to be safer,” says John Styre, business line manager of Canadian Fracturing at Sanjel. Sanjel Corporate Communications strategist Carmen Marsolais adds: “Our checks and balances have really brought safety home to our team members on a personal level—the health checks reinforce the personal importance of silica safety.”
SANJEL’S MEASURES INCLUDE A company-wide awareness campaign with an intranet site and field reference cards. Specialized training for new employees. Collaborating with clients to reduce risk for all workers on a site. Establishing decontamination routes and areas and setting up safety shacks.
Standard issue and use of full-face respirators. Site sampling using personal dosimetres and area pumps. Conducting health surveillance on all employees exposed to fracturing as per regional regulatory requirements.
Testing and developing new engineering controls and equipment such as loading sand silos with a minimum number of employees and using dust covers and collectors, air showers, industrial vacuums, grey water capture and safe silica dust disposal. Inspections to ensure employees are meeting requirements.
Frontline Fall 2015
Shift your work
SELECTING A RESPIRATOR
SEARCHING FOR SOLUTIONS
Different types of respirators for different levels of exposure to silica dust are recommended:
Companies, industry associations, researchers and governments are looking at ways to reduce workers’ exposure to silica. Among the controls and alternatives being considered are:
Below 0.125mg/m3: Particulate respirators equipped with P100 filters Below 0.625mg/m3: Full-face respirators equipped with P100 filters Equal to or above 0.625 mg/m3: Powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, or supplied-air respirators operated in pressure-demand mode.
IF THE NUMBERS ABOVE MEAN SQUAT TO YOU, HERE'S SIMPLE ADVICE: The more often and the closer you are to disturbed silica dust, the more important it is to protect your airways and eyes. You can also figure out exposure using a dosimeter. Still scratching your head? Follow established procedures or ask a supervisor.
Using non-silica ceramic proppant—although more expensive to produce, it’s safer to work around. Installing cyclone dust collectors and portable baghouses to capture dust from thief hatches as it’s generated. Hanging staging or stilling curtains (also called passive enclosures) to limit dust around belt operations. Reducing the distance sand falls through the air when being moved. Using screw augers instead of transfer belts on sand movers. Gathering dust from sites and equipment with industrial vacuums.
Using specially formulated water to reduce dust. Making cam-locks mandatory for fill ports on sand movers. Limiting the number of workers and the amount of time they can be in areas with higher concentrations of silica. Beefing up worker training and knowledge. 3
THE HEALTH DANGERS
10 COMMON SOURCES
Respirable crystalline silica, superfine and sharp-edged silica dust breathed into the lungs, can cause:
1. Thief and vent hatches during loading of proppant, either by way of conveyor belts or pneumatic conveyance (use of air)
Coughing, wheezing Difficulty breathing (dyspnea) Decreased lung (pulmonary) function Chronic, accelerated and acute silicosis (thickening and scarring of the lungs) Lung cancer, tuberculosis and scleroderma. Silica exposure can also irritate eyes and skin.
Breathe easier: wearing a mask while working around silica dust reduces your chances of getting all kinds of
2. Any uncovered fill nozzles on vertical or horizontal sand storage 3. Hopper 4. Handling of bulk silica fracturing dust (flour), such as from a vacuum unit or in air filters 5. Conveyor junction points 6. Sand tent loading and unloading 7. Top of blend truck auger
lung diseases. 2
The more and closer your are to disturbed silica dust, the more
8. Truck end-dump or bottom-dump locations
important it is to protect your airways and eyes. 3
into the air and can be inhaled. 4
Silica dust is harmlessâ€”until it gets
One of the first steps in reducing
10. Soil, rock and clay ground cover.
silica dust exposure is knowing where it's commonly found; uncovered fill nozzles and coveralls are two sources.
Frontline Fall 2015
Spend your days on your feet? Then these boots are worth spending time in
THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR...
DUNLOP EXPLORER STSP VIBRAM PU
MOXIE TRADES PINK BETSY XTREME METAL FREE 6" FOR WOMEN
HONEYWELL RANGER FIREFIGHTER
These are not your grandma’s rubber boots— though they’d be perfect if she happened to be into natural resource exploration.
Vive la différence! For years, women have had to endure the indignities (and discomforts) of a male-centric boot market, but major manufacturers now offer plenty of models specifically designed to fit the female foot.
Made for firefighters, these boots can take the heat of any job. Remarkably lightweight, with shock-absorbing dual-density Enersoles, these will keep you quick on your feet.
The oil- and waterresistant Purofort shafts stay supple and keep you warm even on the coldest days, while the Vibram® Fire and Ice outsoles protect you from heat and flame should things get a bit warmer. Add CSA Grade 1 steel toes and plates, top-of-the-line traction, and electric shock resistance—and you, my friend, are good to go.
Some companies, like Moxie Trades, have taken the next step, bringing fashion—and even a bit of fun—to the job site without sacrificing the practical details. Beneath its playful pink exterior, the Betsy Xtreme is all business—CSA Grade 1 protection, top to bottom.
Meanwhile, those feet will be safe inside the roomy steel toe (along with steel bottom plates and shanks), open-cell foam insulation, fireproof and tear-resistant leg lining, and even Kevlar panels to protect your shins from ladder rungs. With your comfort and safety looked after, you’re free to concentrate on any emergency at hand.
WRITTEN BY SCOTT ROLLANS
Comfort, traction and protection are not luxuries in boots—they’re necessities—so, try some of these on for size.
PHOTOS 3 & 4: HONEYWELL INDUSTRIAL SAFETY, 5: KODIAK GROUP HOLDINGS, 6: VIBERG BOOT
SALISBURY BY HONEYWELL DIELECTRIC
KODIAK TERRA ARGO
Put a pair of these over your work boots next time you climb a power pole—the hand-layered construction and nylon fabric lining make them easy to slide into.
You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to safeguard your feet. And the popular Kodiak Terra Argo is living proof.
The non-skid outsole and deep heel cavity lock onto the rungs, maintaining a firm foothold all the way up. Ozone resistant and 100 per cent waterproof, they provide arc flash protection plus electrical hazard protection to 20,000 volts. Once the job’s done, slip them off, toss them into the back of the truck, and hit the road.
STOMPER JOBSITE The premium waterproof leather upper, military grade rubber outsole, Thinsulate™ insulation, and moisture-wicking lining will keep your tootsies warm and dry, while the metal-free construction delivers CSA-approved protection. And, thanks to the anti-FOD (foreign object damage) tread design, you’re less likely to track potentially damaging pebbles or other foreign objects into your workspace.
These kickass boots do not mess around. Company owner Glen Viberg personally designed Stompers to meet the needs of modern ironworkers, but they’re an excellent choice for others working above ground.
ALL PRICES IN CANADIAN DOLLARS; SOURCED ONLINE JUNE 2015. BOOT SELECTIONS ARE PROVIDED FOR INFORMATION ONLY; ENFORM DOES NOT ENDORSE EQUIPMENT.
The long-wearing, high-traction wedge sole provides a firm grip and excellent oil protection, and the steel toe and composite plate keep you safe from impact and puncture. At the same time, they are surprisingly warm and comfortable—with their cushioned polyurethane insoles and Dri-Lex™ top layer, you’ll be tempted to keep them on even after quitting time.
Frontline Fall 2015
Natural can be hazardous
The leaves are falling, the days are shorter and thereâ€™s a nip in the air. Working in the oilfields, you notice autumnâ€™s arrival right away because when the weather changes, getting safely to, from and through a shift or rotation changes too. WRITTEN BY DES KILFOIL
EVEN A LITTLE COLD CAN BITE
When Mark Salkeld started working in the oilpatch three decades ago, you’d be called a wimp if you complained about the cold when the mercury fell below -20º C.
"You stayed busy, you worked through that," says Salkeld, who’s now president of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC).
Core facts on hypothermia
If you’re caught outside unprepared, even when temperatures are a few degrees above freezing, here’s what can happen:
“That was the environment I started off in. But I can tell you it’s a whole different world now.” Today, the oil and gas industry takes seasonal hazards and worker safety seriously, especially when it comes to cold weather. Autumn means “colder temperatures, increased precipitation, strong winds and decreased daylight,” warns Anne-Marie Besliu of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. “Workers outside must be aware of all possible hazards they are exposed to and be prepared to protect themselves.”
<37˚C <36˚C <35˚C <34˚C <30˚C MILD
When your core
Between 36.1º and
At 33.9º C, hypothermia
The effects of the
35º C, you start feeling
is still moderate, but
cold keep getting
below its normal 37 º C
cold and your skin
in when your body
your shivering will be
by just one degree,
violent and speaking
30º C and death
you begin to shiver
Your hands go numb
below 35º C. You lose
will be hard. Other
is a real possibility;
as your muscles
and you can no longer
below 25.6º C
move involuntarily to
do complex tasks. Your
and your movements
sluggish thinking and
death is all
increase body heat.
shivering can go from
mild to severe. You
have mild hypothermia.
you act as if
of depression and
Hey, look after each other out there o
37 C body temperature Healthy temperature with no risk of hypothermia
Below 37 o C body temperature Hypothermia sets in and extremities are at risk of frostbite
“The main challenge is getting folks to understand and appreciate the importance of safety, and most importantly during cold weather,” Mark Salkeld, the president of PSAC, says. “That means safety meetings every morning, keeping an eye out for your buddy . . . taking the right amount of breaks, encouraging people to eat and drink right, and just looking after each other as a team out on location.”
Frontline Fall 2015
Natural can be hazardous
K N O W YO U R C O M F O RT ZONE
“Thermal comfort” is pointy-head talk for when you feel not too hot and not too cold . . . you feel just right and can do your job no problem. But hold on, it’s more complicated than reading a thermometer; thermal comfort depends on at least six factors:
Air temperature: How warm or cold the air is around you.
Radiant heat: You’ll be warmer working next to a running hot-air compressor.
Relative humidity: Moisture in the air makes you feel damp and sweaty.
Moving air: A gentle breeze is one thing; howling wind is another.
ON AND OFF
Take it off. Put it on. Repeat as needed. This is the simple but effective art of layering—using your clothes to keep your body temperature.
Layering includes wearing a wool cap or liner inside a helmet. And more than one pair of socks. And felt liners in your boots.
Other layering tips worth remembering: An inner layer of polyester or polypropylene material can “wick” away moisture from your body. Keep clean and dry. Sweaty, wet and greasy clothes don’t insulate well.
Physical exertion: How physically hard you’re working.
Clothing: The biggest factor of all. Dressing—and undressing—for the weather is critical and depends on layering (see sidebar On and Off).
Funny thing about autumn: it can be like summer one day and full-on winter the next. When the wind picks up, the temperature plunges and the snow moves in, know your company’s Plan B.
Also known as cold stress procedures, Plan B is having warm shelter nearby, where you can go when it gets so cold it feels like something’s going to freeze and fall off. Once inside, check to make sure nothing did. The plan also outlines the extreme conditions that can trigger a work shutdown. “When frigid temperatures and blowing wind result in extremely cold temperatures, we ban all non-emergency work,” says Cecil Blair, TransCanada Pipelines director for the Wildrose region in Western Canada. “If we don’t have to be working out in those temperatures we’ll find something else to do that day where we can work indoors. If it’s not an emergency event, we would not have our people go out and work in those temperatures.”
S M A RT DRIVING TIPS
Slow down: driving in the fall is almost as treacherous as in the winter, yet many people drive as if it’s still summer. Don’t be like them.
Stay alert on the road: shorter days mean reduced visibility. And the glare of the rising or setting sun can make it hard to see what’s on the road. Plus, avoid driving when you're fatigued. If you're tired have a nap. Plan ahead for wet conditions: fall means more rain which means visibility and hydroplaning. Make sure your windshield wipers and your tires are in good condition. Slow down, avoid any hard braking, look well ahead and brake sooner and more smoothly than usual. Prepare to slide: shady areas on bridges and treelined roadways mean frost or worse, black ice. Slow down for curves, and keep looking ahead. Fallen leaves: when they're wet they're slippery. Fog and mist: common in autumn in low-lying areas or around trees, hills or mountains. Slow down and use extra caution. Night driving: as always, make sure your headlights are properly aligned and clean. Slow down and don’t tailgate. Call ahead: let someone know when to expect you. See Enform's Journey Management Guide at enform.ca.
Autumn's beauty can be distracting. Skies are clear, the scent of fallen leaves hangs fresh and fragrant, and the landscape is a sea of stunning colours. But those leaves are as slippery as loose gravel. That chill in the air means road signs can be obscured by overnight frost. And shorter, darker days mean riskier driving. The oil industry’s own statistics show that the most dangerous place may be in your vehicle. Encana’s fall 2014 safe driving policy noted a whopping 29 per cent of oilpatch fatalities were due to “vehicle incidents.”
Oilpatch driving policies include: install winter tires and use chains as required; carry an emergency kit; slow down, don’t tailgate; don’t use cruise control in bad weather; and if your cellphone rings let it go to voice mail. Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, which delivers offshore gas to Atlantic Canada and New England, has another important seasonal policy. “Fall marks the return to school,” says the company's area operations manager, Stephanie More. “And we always take time to review the heightened need for driver awareness around school zones.” Same goes for school bus routes.
Frontline Fall 2015
Natural can be hazardous
H Y D R AT E TO KEEP
Your body needs fluids to produce heat.
WA R M
Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate you. Alcohol also messes with your ability to shiver and other ways your body stays warm.
Water Soup Non-caffeinated drinks Alcohol Coffee Other caffeinated drinks
LO O K F O R 'UMBLES'
When working in cold conditions, watch for “umbles” by yourself and your co-workers: stumbles, mumbles, fumbles and grumbles.
The cold can change a person’s physiological and mental states. The umbles are warning signs that someone is not coping well and needs warm shelter and immediate attention.
From rutting moose to migrating caterpillars, wildlife can be a true hazard in the fall
At Maritime & Northeast Pipeline, Frontline workers are reminded to wear bright orange in the fall because it's hunting season. And it’s rutting season, which makes wildlife less likely to notice oncoming traffic. Every year, people are injured and killed in collisions with moose, deer, elk and other large animals (such as livestock). And cost for vehicle damage is in the millions every year. Even the unexpected can be a hazard. Like the time Mark Salkeld, now the president of PSAC, was heading down the highway straight into . . . a caterpillar migration. “Hundreds of thousands of them crossing the road,” he recalls of the slippery, “gross” mess. Salkeld avoided disaster by treating the squirming hordes like black ice, and laid off the brakes until his huge truck coasted to a stop. In this case, the caterpillars were the only casualties. Salkeld is now pushing for better driver training, such as Enform’s Oilfield Driving Awareness program, to improve what he says is the industry’s never-ending need to get safer. “The constant is worker safety,” he says. “There’s no scrimping on that. You don’t want to hurt anybody. You want all your workers to go home safe and sound at the end of the day.”
SAFETY IS WOVEN INTO TECHMATION’S OPERATIONS FROM APPRENTICES TO PRESIDENT
WRITTEN BY COLLEEN BIONDI PHOTOS SUPPLIED BY TECHMATION
Frontline Fall 2015
TRUE OR FALSE:
The biggest risk for Techmation Electric
& Controls’ 1,200 workers is electric shock or burns. FALSE
Techmation’s employees will cover more than
23 million kilometres in 500 vehicles this year going to and from worksites in the oilpatch. That makes driving the company’s greatest safety risk.
T H E I M P O R TA N C E O F S A F E D R I V I N G
This is why the Airdrie-based company trains every employee operating a company vehicle to be a competent driver: make good decisions, know traffic laws, obey speed limits, plan ahead and accommodate construction traffic. These employees must have a driving record with seven or fewer demerit points (in Alberta drivers who accumulate 15 demerit points in two years have their licence suspended) and agree to have their record checked annually through a provincial registry. Plus, driving speeds are monitored with GPS software. “We make the importance of safe driving abundantly clear when hiring,” Roland Polsfut, vice president of Operations, says. Failing to follow the company’s driving policies is grounds for disciplinary action. Naturally, Techmation’s safety program addresses other serious risks related to electrical supplies and instrumentation controls. Working with electricity always ups the ante. To reduce the odds of an injury or incident, the company has an electrical safety program. Apprentice and journeymen electricians alike take proprietary courses which involve online, classroom and hands-on training. Techmation employees learn all aspects of working on and around electrical equipment, from understanding how to work around energized equipment (such as switch gears and transformers at compressor stations, oil batteries and thermal projects) to what personal protective equipment is required for a particular task. “Our employees are trained to the highest standard possible,” says safety manager Tyler Smith. With instrument work—working on end devices, blocking and bleeding lines, releasing pressures—comes the risk of exposure to chemicals and gases
AS OF MID-JUNE, TECHMATION BOASTED 5,000 STRAIGHT DAYS WITHOUT ONE EMPLOYEE HAVING A SERIOUS INCIDENT
WHEN IT COMES TO ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS, IF YOU DON’T ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS, YOU WON’T GET THE RIGHT ANSWERS
(for example, hydrogen sulphide, H2S). In order to work in sour environments, employees are trained in Enform’s H2S Alive and use top-quality self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and supplied air breathing apparatus (SABA). They also learn the risks (and how to avoid them) of open flames, heat and sparks. As proud as the company is of its 20-year legacy of providing electrical and instrumentation services to the oil and gas industry from Estevan, Sask. to Fort St. John, B.C., it’s even prouder of its safety record. As of mid-June, Techmation boasted 5,000 straight days without one employee having a serious incident. “We have a great modified work program,” Smith says. “But we have never had an employee stay home, unable to come to work.” Occasionally, minor injuries happen. When they do, trained staff figure out what happened and how to prevent them from happening again through a process called root cause analysis.
G E T T I N G TO T H E R O OT CAU S E O F A N I N C I D E N T
Techmation’s root cause analysis looks for the “bare bones” of a situation: what caused the incident? If an employee slips, trips and bruises his shoulder, for example, it’s reported to supervisors. Medical care is provided if needed and worker’s task might switch up for the rest of the day. Incident examiners look at the worker’s site surface, shoes, route and the decisions behind all of them. “If you don’t ask the right questions, you won’t get the right answers,” Smith says. The company also compiles leading and lagging indicators. Lagging indicators measure the company’s past incidences: the number, type and result of the incidents. Leading indicators are more proactive and reflect safety input from day-to-day operations: hazard identification; observing and supporting positive performance in the workplace and employee input at safety meetings. Together, these indicators serve to track trends—including high-risk ones— and shape policy, programs and workplace behaviours. Even with its extraordinary safety record, Techmation is not sitting idly on its safety laurels. The electrical safety program will be rolled out to all 25 service facilities this year. As well, a competency evaluation tool (rating all employees) is on the books. For Techmation, safety is woven into the fabric of the company, from the president to first-year apprentices. “Front-line supervisors are active and we mentor safety right down to the apprentices,” Polsfut says. “That is something Techmation does very well.”
Frontline Fall 2015
Knowledge of body WRITTEN BY LAVONNE BOUTCHER
HEADS UP! YOUR BRAIN IS WORTH PROTECTING 24
YOUR BRAIN IS YOUR CONTROL CENTRE
It is the hub for every thought and every action you make in your life. Protect it like your life depends on it. It does. So you don’t want to go knocking it around. By understanding the risks, you’ll have a better chance of preventing a head injury both on and off the job. In the time it takes to say boom, a traumatic brain injury can change your life forever. A brain injury isn’t like a broken bone that damages one part of your body. “It doesn’t just affect one piece of your life, it affects all pieces of your life and it can have prolonged repercussions,” says Dr. Chantel Debert, a brain specialist at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary.
ALL KINDS OF HAZARDS CAN PUT YOUR BRAIN (AND THE REST OF YOU) IN DANGER
The top three for oil and gas workers are:
Getting struck by an object
This can be anything from a falling tree while working a seismic line to a tool falling from atop a drilling rig.
Slips, trips and falls
Whether falling from a height or ground level, your brain can be rattled, or worse.
Motor vehicle crashes
Driving to, from and around work is one of the oilpatch’s riskiest activities. Whiplash and impact injuries (fractures, bumps or jolts to the head) can all be traumatic.
In the time it takes to say boom, a traumatic brain injury can change your life forever
FIVE WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR HEAD
Drive safely you’ve heard it before, but here it is again—wear your seatbelt, drive the speed limit and don’t get behind the wheel if you're tired or have been drinking. Tidy up removing clutter from your workplace reduces the risks of tripping or having something land on your head. Wear the gear that’d be your PPE (personal protective equipment)— which includes hard hat, safety belt, safety lines and goggles along with footwear, gloves and hearing protection. Stay focused distractions can be deadly. Concentrate on the work you're doing and be alert to any hazards that might be around you and your co-workers. Know your job get the right training so you know all the tasks required to do the work and how to do them safely. Don’t know something? Ask.
A KNOCK THAT’S NO JOKE
Every brain injury is a wild card, depending on the severity and the affected part of the brain. A mild injury can be just as hard to recover from as a severe one, although 85 to 90 per cent of people who have a mild brain injury recover in one to two weeks. The most common effects of a mild traumatic brain injury are: Headaches Cognitive changes (thinking and memory) Sleep disturbances Dizziness (vertigo) Temporary personality changes. People with moderate to severe injuries can experience: Cognitive changes Nerve damage Motor difficulties (paralysis or sensory problems) such as loss of hearing, smell or taste, and difficulty speaking or swallowing. Few people with moderate to severe injuries fully return to what they were like before the injury and most have a prolonged disability. Wearing your PPE and being alert to potential hazards go a long way towards keeping you safe, but nothing beats a safe work environment. Budd Phillips of WorkSafe BC says it’s ultimately an employer’s responsibility to identify, communicate, reduce and, if possible, eliminate the risks. “For workers, personal protective equipment (PPE) is the last line of defence,” he says.
YOUNG MEN AND THE RISK OF A HEAD INJURY
Young men in the oilpatch have greater risk of head injury than their co-workers. For instance, WorkSafe BC stats show, 65 per cent of claims for head injuries in the oilpatch are from guys 15 to 34 years old. “In the oil and gas industry we see not only young workers, but also those new to the sector, and both of those groups tend to be vulnerable to injury,” says Budd Phillips, regional prevention manager with WorkSafe BC in Fort St. John.
of head injuries are in 15- to 34year-old men
Frontline Fall 2015
Knowledge of body
10 WAYS TO SPOT A CONCUSSION
Concussions are the most common form of traumatic brain injury. And even a mild one can screw you up, causing (among other things):
1 Loss of consciousness
2 Headache or feeling pressure in your head
3 Nausea or vomiting
5 Seeing stars or lights or having vision problems
6 Slurred speech
IF YOU LIKE PUT A LID ON IT
Know why everyone’s wearing a hard hat? Because they prevent injuries and save lives! Nothing protects your head better. Pay attention to your hard hat and it will be there when you need it: Check the recommended work life of the hat you’re wearing. Every model has a shelf life— for most that’s three to seven years. Inspect it daily for signs of wear, cracking or any damage to the shell or suspension that could make it ineffective. Wear the right hat for the job. Whether you need protection from falling or fixed objects, or electrical shocks, there’s a hat for that. Choose one that’s CSA/ANSI approved. Make sure your hard hat fits properly. Get the right size and don’t wear hoodies or ball caps under it. “Take care of yourself. You only have one brain,” Dr. Chantel Debert of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute says.
HEAD INJURY MUST-DO
7 Balance problems
Sensitivity to light or noise
9 Difficulty concentrating and remembering
10 Confusion, drowsiness or scrambled thinking.
After any knock on the head, stop what you’re doing and take a break. If you experience any of the symptoms above, get medical help right away.
Take time to recover
The three things to remember with every head injury
Enform Q & A
EVERY DAY IS DIFFERENT BEHIND THIS WHEEL WHEN BIG OIL RIGS AND BUILDINGS ARE MOVED IN THE FIELD, NATHAN SCHRAEFEL IS ONE OF THE PEOPLE PILOTING THE BIG BED TRUCKS THAT HELP GET THE JOB DONE SAFELY. NATHAN SCHRAEFEL INTERVIEWED BY MIKE FISHER PHOTOGRAPHED BY JERRY GERLING
Frontline Fall 2015
Enform Q & A
Schraefel works throughout Alberta for Northwell Oilfield
WHAT SAFETY FACTORS DO YOU FACE BEHIND THE WHEEL?
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM DRIVING A HALF-TON?
Hauling, which is based in Red Deer. He started in the oilpatch as a swamper and has worked his way from the ground up to sit 10 feet up behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound Western Star rig. Frontline asked him about his work.
OIL AND GAS COMPANIES ARE VERY PROACTIVE ON HAZARD MANAGEMENT AND MAY IDENTIFY HAZARDS THEMSELVES 28
Every morning before we start work, we fill out a task hazard assessment that includes moving the rig and the driving hazards getting there. The winter can be treacherous as temperatures drop to -40° C, so the hydraulics and everything else get slower. It takes longer to stop when it’s icy. You’ve got to keep your eyes open and allow more following distance behind vehicles. These trucks are big and have blind spots. You really have to be aware of your surroundings. You never know what someone’s going to do in front of you.
The bed truck will go right through giant snowdrifts because the weight gives you better traction. Going anywhere, you need two lanes to make a corner because the truck’s 10 feet wide and takes up a whole lane. So, when you’re going to turn, you have to plan ahead. The truck has rear and side view cameras to compensate for the blind spots, and you’re watching everything all the time. On the one hand, you have a better view of the road sitting way up there. On the other hand, you could be stopped with a car in front of you, but might not see it because the top of your hood is so high. Still, I’d rather be in my bed truck in a snowstorm. It’ll pretty much go through anything.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A GOOD BED TRUCK OPERATOR?
WHEN IS THE TOUGHEST TIME TO DRIVE?
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES AND REWARDS OF YOUR JOB?
You’re working with the same group of guys every day, so you need to get along and do your job safely. You need to be a team player. You’ve got to be in decent physical shape and be organized. There’s a lot going on out there, so you must always assess the dangers and respond the right way. You have to keep an eye on your equipment and make sure it’s in good working condition. You may be lifting a $5-million building; if you were to roll or drop one, and it can happen, you can have an expensive problem. It’s best to always be prepared.
We don’t do a lot of night work, but we can get working into the night and early mornings during the winter.
It’s different scenery every day. You can move the same rig a hundred times and it’ll never be the same. It could take eight hours to move a rig one time and the next time it will take 16 hours.
When you work long hours, you really have to learn to manage your day. If it were easy every day it would probably get pretty boring after a while. I kind of embrace the tough days because they keep the job interesting. And we take fatigue management courses that help us do the job.
You might have a huge hill or a soft location that’s really muddy and you’re buried in the mud, so that’s a challenge. Sometimes I get up at 2 a.m. and work a long day. There aren’t really any coffee breaks in the rig moving business. Even so, I think moving rigs is one of the better jobs in the oilpatch.
Frontline Fall 2015
WRITTEN BY LAVONNE BOUTCHER
A LONG DAY LEADS TO A LONGER RECOVERY
PHOTOGRAPHED BY NICOLE NOYCE
Dusty Biensch doesn’t remember the motor vehicle crash that changed his life. He woke up from a coma nearly a month later wondering what happened. “I woke up in Saskatoon to a totally reconstructed forehead—my forehead had a titanium mesh plate in it to hold it together,” recalls Biensch, who was working as a derrickhand on an oil rig at the time of the collision. The accident happened in mid-December. After finishing his 12-hour shift, which included packing up the rig for the Christmas shutdown, he went out with friends in Lloydminster to watch a UFC fight and hang out at a country bar. It was 2.30 a.m. when he began the 30-minute drive back to where he was staying. Twenty-seven minutes later, he fell asleep at the wheel. His airbag didn’t deploy so his forehead slammed into the steering wheel—hard. His truck also caught fire. By a total fluke, a family friend driving by pulled him to safety. Biensch made several safe decisions that night: he didn’t drink, he was going the speed limit and he was wearing his seatbelt. “I was thinking safety all the time at work, so I was naturally focused on safety so I’d stay safe driving home after.” His one unsafe choice: driving after a long, physically demanding day topped off by a night of socializing with his friends. If there’s one message he has for others it’s to adopt a safety mindset in all aspects of their lives, not just at work.
In 2009, 29-year-old Dusty Biensch made one unsafe choice that led to a traumatic brain injury. He is still recovering
“You never know when something wrong is going to happen on the rig so you’ve got to be ready all the time.” But away from the job and after a long day, Biensch’s focus slipped. “So I crashed.” Now 29, Biensch still walks with a limp, his right hand twitches and he’s lost his sense of smell. He continues to recover and is encouraged by the progress he makes every day. “It’s a continuous battle. I’ll probably be recovering for the rest of my life.”