Safety Alerts

Safety Alerts

Just a Firemaster Minute
Flare Stack Fire Safety

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Description of Incident:

On several separate occasions in the last year, fires of vegetation and waste material occurred at or adjacent to several oil and gas facility sites. The source of these fires was the flare stacks.

What Caused It?

A build-up of carbon within the flare stacks resulted in hot embers being released which led to the ignition of vegetation and waste materials.

Contributing Factors Included:

  • Lack of preventative maintenance on flare stacks
  • Vegetation present in the vicinity of the flare stacks
  • Improper disposal and storage of wastes like wax, iron sulphides, oily rags and filters

Corrective/Preventative Actions:

  • Soil surface should be cleared of flammable materials and vegetation, at least 30 metres around incinerators and at least 1.5 times the height of the flare stacks. Additional distance may be required if sour products are involved (2.5 times height of stack) or for prevailing wind direction conditions.
  •  Flare stack maintenance should be scheduled into asset management for facility turnarounds
  • Materials that are flammable or pyrophoric (self-combustible in air) should be stored and disposed of in special waste bins and kept out of general waste streams
  • Facility personnel should be instructed to keep waste or rag bins closed at all times


Flare Fire

Just a Firemaster Minute
H2S Close Call

Monday, April 25th, 2016

EnformSafetyAlert-06 2016

Just a Firemaster Minute
Service Rig Pull Over Incident

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

A service rig and well site pumping unit sustained extensive damage when the rig was pulled over onto its side.
The incident occurred when the driver of a tractor trailer picker unit drove over the service rig’s escape line and
anchor. The driver’s side front hydraulic stabilizer ram snagged the 9/16 inch escape line. The anchor lodged
between the truck’s rear passenger dual tires and mud flap. As the picker truck drove off location, the escape
line pulled the rig over.
The rig crew was in the process of shutting down operations for the day. The crew moved the crew truck that
had been parked on the anchor. In addition, the rig lights had been turned off for the night. This practice is
designed to prevent vandalism. The picker truck operator did not complete a job site hazard assessment upon
arrival. Job site hazard assessments contain potential hazards and associated controls to prevent incidents.
The picker truck driver routinely reversed the unit out and away from the service rig. However, due to dark and foggy
conditions, the driver decided to drive his unit forward and around the service rig.
An inspection of the picker unit after the incident revealed that the outside lights on the four headlight system were
malfunctioning. Only the inside high beam bulbs were working at the time of the incident.

Just a Firemaster Minute
Service Rig Tank Flash Resulting in Worker Injury

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Description of Incident:
A crew was conducting well kill operations on a sweet oil well. A worker was
monitoring the return flow to the service rig trough from on top of the rig tank. When
the returns became gassier, the return flow was opened to the degasser section of
the rig tank and the trough flow was pinched in slightly. The rig manager proceeded to
the top of the rig tank stairs where his personal gas monitor immediately began to
alarm on high LEL (lower explosive limit). The rig manager looked up to observe both
the rig tank and the worker on the rig tank being engulfed in flames.
The worker standing on top of the rig tank jumped over the handrail to the ground,
and suffered a broken hand from the landing. The flash fire resulted in minor burns to
the worker’s face, chest, back and thighs, and extensive burns to the forearms which
required skin grafting surgery and 18 days in the hospital. The rig manager jumped off
the stairs and was not injured in the event.
The poorly terminated wire was hanging freely and made periodic contact with a
barbed wire strand two inches below the electrified wire. This contact between the two
wires created a spark, which ignited the gassy oil returns to the rig tank as they
vented from the open top of the tank.
Contributing factors included:
• The electrified fence was not identified as a potential source of ignition
• The power jumper wire was not properly terminated according to manufacturer
• The corporate and contractor PPE policy was not adhered to: the worker’s sleeves
were rolled up past the elbows leaving the forearms exposed to intense heat and
flame contact
• The worker was not wearing a personal gas monitor to warn of potentially explosive
Corrective/Preventive Actions:
• Site Specific Hazard Assessments should include a physical search for other
potential sources of ignition on or near the work site perimeter. Land owners may be
consulted if these potential sources of ignition are found to exist near the operated
• The operating company has reviewed and identified the types of operations that may
have potential for gas to surface equipment and has implemented an administrative
control for keeping personnel out of the potential hot zone
• All personnel working on or near the rig tank should use personal gas monitors to
warn of high LEL environments
• All personnel are required to wear fire retardant coveralls as designed to minimize
the amount of exposed skin

Just a Firemaster Minute
Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Description of Incident:
A three-person crew left a well site location at 7:00 am during daylight hours with clear visibility. The
highway was covered with snow and icy patches. The crew drove for approximately 15 minutes
when they crested a long, low-angle hill. As they began to descend the other side, a third party
pickup truck that was ascending the hill from the other direction lost control and skidded sideways
across the center line and into their lane. The driver of the three-person crew immediately steered
hard to the right, but did not have enough time or space to avoid a collision. The third party truck was
struck on the passenger side door, with the initial impact coming primarily from the front driver side
of the crew vehicle. The incident resulted in three fatalities: the two occupants of the third party truck,
and the crew’s driver.

Corrective/Preventive Actions:
Investigation provided the following recommendations:
 Drive defensively and expect the unexpected. Remember, third party drivers are unpredictable.
 Be aware that although people may have experience with winter driving conditions, they are out-of-practice
at the beginning of the winter season and their skill level is lower. This is evidenced by the increased driving
incidents following the first snow fall.
 Even with experienced drivers, driving speeds must be adjusted to allow adequate time and space to react
 When ascending or descending snow and ice-covered hills, keep a steady pace and do not accelerate
excessively which can cause loss of traction. Pick-ups should have added weight in the truck bed and be in
four-wheel-drive mode.
 Always drive to the speed of the road conditions, which is not necessarily the posted speed limit.

Just a Firemaster Minute
Fall From Derrick Results In Fatality

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Description of Incident

During routine rig operations racking heavy weight drill pipe and drill collars,
the derrick man proceeded up to the derrick board using the climbing selfretracting
lifeline (SRL), which is anchored directly above the climbing ladder.
Upon reaching the derrick board, the normal procedure is to attach to the
monkey board SRL, which is anchored directly above and behind the usual
working position, then detach the climbing SRL from the harness. The derrick
man is then required to tie-off using a lanyard to the tie point at the back of the
monkey board. In this instance, the derrick man did not tie-off with the lanyard,
and instead of transferring to the monkey board SRL he remained attached to
the climbing SRL.
While manipulating the drill collar into its new position, it is believed the
climbing SRL was caught by the descending top drive, pulling the derrick man
off the derrick board. The SRL was severed, again believed to be by the top
drive, causing the derrick man to fall to the rig floor, resulting in fatal injuries.

What Caused It
• The derrick man did not follow the proper procedures to secure to the derrick
SRL and then unsecure the climbing SRL before working on the derrick board.
• Other workers may have witnessed the climbing SRL being used by the
derrick man while he was working on the monkey board, but there was no
intervention to correct the situation.

Corrective/Preventive Actions
Investigation provided the following recommendations:
• Ensure that all required personal protective equipment is being used properly
as per design and required procedures at all times.
• Ensure that all procedures are followed. If there is a change of scope or
working conditions, the worker must consider the safety implications and apply
appropriate safety procedures.

Just a Firemaster Minute
Motion Induced Blindness (DRIVERS NOTE)

Friday, July 12th, 2013

This is very interesting ..should be read by everyone. Check it out and do the test!

In a motor accident, wherein a speeding car hits a slower moving vehicle coming from the side, the speeding car drivers often swear that they just didn’t see the vehicle coming from the left or right.
Well, they aren’t lying. They really don’t see the vehicle coming from the side, in spite of broad daylight.

This phenomenon on the car drivers’ part is known as “Motion Induced Blindness”. It is definitely frightening.

Once airborne, pilots are taught to alternate their gaze between scanning the horizon and scanning their instrument panel, and never to fix their gaze for more than a couple of seconds on any single object. They are taught to continually keep their heads on a swivel and their eyes always moving. Because, if you fix your gaze on one object long enough while you yourself are in motion, your peripheral vision goes blind.

Till about three decades ago, this “heads on swivel & eyes moving” technique was the only way to spot other aircraft in the skies around. Now-a-days they have on-board radars, but the old technique still holds good.

Let me give you a small demonstration of motion induced blindness. Just click on the link below. You will see a revolving array of blue crosses on a black background. There is a flashing green dot in the centre and three fixed yellow dots around it. If you fix your gaze on the green dot for more than a few seconds, the yellow dots will disappear at random, either singly, or in pairs, or all three together. In reality, the yellow dots are always there.

Just watch the yellow dots for some time to ensure that they don’t go anywhere!

(Notes given by the author below the rotating array are educative.)

So, if you are driving at a high speed on a highway and if you fix your gaze on the road straight ahead, you will not see a car, a scooter, a buggy, a bicycle, a buffalo or even a human being approaching from the side.

Now reverse the picture. If you are crossing a road on foot and you see a speeding car approaching, there’s a 90% chance that the driver isn’t seeing you, because his/her peripheral vision may be blind! And you may be in that blind zone!!

Just a Firemaster Minute
Heat Related Illnesses

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

We are at that time of year where it is beginning to get warm and will only get warmer as summer goes on. I have put together some info about Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke.

Heat Exhaustion:

Heat exhaustion happens when your body gets too hot. It can be caused by physical exercise or hot weather.

Symptoms may include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Feeling weak and/or confused
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Fast heartbeat

If you think you have heat exhaustion, get out of the heat quickly. Rest in a building that has air-conditioning. If you can’t get inside, find a cool, shady place. Drink plenty of water or other fluids. Do NOT drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks (such as soda). These can make heat exhaustion worse. Take a cool shower or bath, or apply cool water to your skin. Take off any tight or unnecessary clothing.

If you do not feel better within 30 minutes, you should contact your doctor. If heat exhaustion is not treated, it can progress to heatstroke.

Heat Stroke:

Heatstroke is when the internal temperature of the body reaches 104°F. It can happen when your body gets too hot during strenuous exercise or when exposed to very hot temperatures, or it can happen after heat exhaustion isn’t properly treated. Heatstroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. Heatstroke can cause damage to your organs and brain. In extreme cases, it can kill you.

Symptoms include:

  • High fever (104°F or higher)
  • Severe headache
  • Dizziness and feeling light-headed
  • A flushed or red appearance to the skin
  • Lack of sweating Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Nausea Vomiting
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fast breathing
  • Feeling confused, anxious or disoriented
  • Seizures

If you think someone might have heatstroke, call emergency medical personnel immediately. While you are waiting for medical assistance, take the person into an air-conditioned building or a cool, shady place. Remove the person’s unnecessary clothing to help cool him or her down. Try to fan air over the person while wetting the skin with water. You can also apply ice packs to the person’s armpits, groin, neck and back. These areas contain a lot of blood vessels close the surface of the skin. Cooling them with ice packs can help the person cool down.


  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat or using an umbrella.
  • Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more.
  • Drink plenty of water before starting an outdoor activity.
  •  Drink extra water all day. Keep in mind that heat-related illnesses are not only caused by high temperatures and a loss of fluids, but also a lack of salt in the body. Some sports drinks can help replenish the salt in your body lost through sweating.
  • Drink fewer beverages that contain caffeine (such as tea, coffee and soda) or alcohol.
  • Schedule vigorous outdoor activities for cooler times of the day — before 10:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m.
  • During an outdoor activity, take frequent breaks.
  • Drink water or other fluids every 15 to 20 minutes, even if you don’t feel thirsty. If you have clear, pale urine, you are probably drinking enough fluids. Dark-colored urine is an indication that you’re dehydrated.
  • If you have a chronic medical problem, ask your doctor about how to deal with the heat, about drinking extra fluids and about your medicines.

Just a Firemaster Minute
Welders Flash

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Incident: Welders helper suffered from Welders Flash

What Happened:

Welders were making modifications to the lines and collector for an additional mud tank. A welder’s assistant was assisting the welder by holding the lines and collectors of the centrifuge pump so that they could be welded in place. The helper wasn’t wearing the appropriate PPE (welding shield) instead he
improvised his own mask using his dark safety glasses and a piece of dark glass (obtained from a broken welder’s mask). Every time the welder struck an arc, the helper would place the improvised shield in front of his face. Due to the inadequate improvised shield, the worker later suffered welder’s flash (pain, sensation of dirt particles, photophobia, and difficulty opening eyes) in both eyes.

What Caused It:

Welder’s helper did not use welding shield and appropriate PPE for welding.
Welder didn’t stop the operation so that the proper PPE could be used.

Corrective Actions: To address this incident, this company did the following:

Instructed site supervisors to:

1. Conduct periodic safety audits to verify that welders are following a thorough JSA.
2. Conduct a safety talk specific to safe welding operations by immediate supervision.
3. Supervision must verify a welder’s hood and shield for welding operations are being used by the welder as well as the welder’s helper.
4. Encourage employees to follow operational and safety procedures by utilizing a SMART Card (Stop Work) and routine PPE inspections.

Just a Firemaster Minute
iPhone Charger Burns Down Truck, Almost House

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

The following is a personal experience a Shell employee went through in Texas. Please read the following.

Hi All, Wanted to share!

As some of you may know, we had a pretty scary incident recently. Attached are pictures of what remains of our 2007 Suburban. We are all okay but I wanted to warn everyone not to make the same mistake I did. This fire resulted from leaving an iPhone charger/docking station plugged into the car outlet. It overheated and started a fire, while parked in our garage.
PLEASE unplug anything you have in your car outlets once you turn off your car!

We were VERY fortunate that we found the fire, at 11pm, before going to bed and before it spread to the house. None of our garage heat detectors or house fire alarms went off (another item to take care of on my “to do” list). Feel free to pass this along to anyone you want. Better safe than sorry.