MRO Magazine

Guidance document helps oil & gas workers prevent chemical-hazard injuries


April 2, 2012
By PEM Magazine

Enform — the safety association for Canada’s upstream oil & gas industry — in association with six oil and gas industry trade associations has developed Controlling Chemical Hazards in the Oil and Gas Industry – A Program Development Guideline to help employers and workers prevent chemical hazards at the worksites.

Enform has produced this guideline with the insights of industry experts, past case studies, new innovation and technology. These are now compiled into examples, and templates, as well as a comprehensive overview of developing a chemical control program. The other trade associations include the Canadian Association of Geophysical Contractors (CAGC), Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC), Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA), Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) and Small Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (SEPAC)

“Chemical Hazard injuries are one of the top ten injury and illness issues facing the oil and gas industry. In some cases, workers have suffered severe injuries resulting in loss of life,” said Roy McKnight, manager of Enform’s industry initiatives. “This guideline will help employers assess their Chemical Hazard Programs and improve communications with their workers who work closely with chemicals on site.”

The guide can be used as an educational tool to define the process for controlling chemical risks at oil and gas lease sites. It will explain the various responsibilities regarding Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and their importance to the employers and employees. Also provide background on chemical hazards specific to the oil and gas industry. Lastly, provide value-laden, easy to use templates to assist the employers and employees working on these sites when evaluating their chemical concerns (e.g. exposure control plans, chemical guidance sheets, etc). The comprehensive guide is now available for industry wide use.


An accompanying interactive web program will assist companies with finding the right guidance sheets for the particular chemicals and mixture of chemicals that they are working with. The web program will also help provide direction as to what modifications may be required for their safety program, depending on which different chemicals and mixtures are used. This will be a huge advantage for companies that may not have a hygienist on staff who can direct their individualized safety program.

Robert Waterhouse, industrial hygienist with Encana Corp., says, “The Controlling Chemical Hazards guideline is a comprehensive approach to managing chemical hazards in the industry.” He also highlighted, “It puts tools and information in the hands of those that are planning projects, supervising projects and workers who are conducting the work. I am enthusiastic that this guideline and its associated tools will assist in the management of chemical hazards in the oil and gas industry.”

Enform plays a fundamental role in providing oil and gas industry workers and employer’s guidelines to protect their employees, make available safety alerts and bulletins, and communicate industry recommended best practices.

Enform, the safety association for Canada’s upstream oil and gas industry, is the advocate and leading resource for the continuous improvement of industry safety performance. Established by industry for industry, Enform helps companies achieve their safety goals by promoting shared safety practices and providing effective training, expert audit services and professional advice. Our vision is a no work-related incident or injuries in the Canadian upstream oil and gas industry.