By Gus Caldera, Ingersoll Rand
In oil and gas operations, safety should be of the utmost importance. Particularly in the onshore drilling market, activity levels can change rapidly. According to the Baker Hughes North America Rotary Rig Count, there were 520 land rigs operating in North America in March 2016. Today, that number has surpassed 1,100. The industry must ensure that its emphasis on safety grows as quickly as the number of working rigs.
In the fast-paced North American land market, speed and efficiency are vitally important. However, a pure focus on speed could lead to incidents and downtime later that could impact operations much more significantly in the long run. Safe onshore rig practices go along with operational efficiency and can prevent costly injuries and downtime.
Additionally, due to the size of onshore rigs, companies often need to minimize the amount of equipment on the rig. This can lead to issues if equipment designed for a specific operation is used for something else. For instance, utility winches, which are meant to lift equipment, should not be used for lifting personnel. A winch designed to lift equipment does not come equipped with features intended to keep people safe.
For example, if a utility winch is pulling a person up with 12,000 lb of force and that person gets caught on the way up, that can cause serious injury or even death.
Proper equipment maintenance can have a huge impact on rig owners’ safety and costs. An effective maintenance strategy saves time and money by helping to prevent unnecessary equipment repairs and failures down the road. Particularly because efficiency is so important in land drilling, servicing rig equipment regularly is important for maintaining equipment life and ensuring it’s safe to use. There is an undeniable correlation between maintenance and safety.
Whether land or sea, all rigs benefit from safety measures that help to remove some hazards. To make drilling operations even safer as rig activity levels increase, proactive maintenance strategies should be considered. DC