HEALTH AND SAFETY IN THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY IN SAUDI ARABIA
Verma, Johnson and McLean (2000) conducted a study about the benzene and total hydrocarbon exposures in the upstream petroleum oil and gas industry and found several safety concern issues. The study was based on the Canadian Oil and Gas Industry, and a total of 1547 air samples taken by 5 oil companies in various sectors (i.e., conventional oil/gas, conventional gas, heavy oil processing, drilling and pipelines) were evaluated and summarized. Although the study was not focused in the oil and gas industry in
Another study that reflects the safety procedures in the oil and gas industry in general is the study conducted by Fuller and Vassie (2001), which reports a benchmark assessment of employee and contractor safety climates in an offshore oil company that operated contractor partnership agreements in the
Markussen (2003) enumerated several effects on employee health that a geological survey/seismic operation can produce. Employees are endangered of infectious disease; foodborne/waterborne illness; wildlife & vector; induced disease; and noise. On the other hand, oil and gas production causes chemical and physical agent exposure, specifically on drilling mud; petroleum products; treatment chemicals; radioactive sources; NORM*; solvents; metals; temperature (heat/cold); silica/asbestos; noise/vibration; and PCB's. Markussen (2003) concluded that all risks must be identified and managed through wisely incorporated resources in order for quality operations to be long lasting.
Al Khafji Joint Operations is one of the known oil and gas companies in
The company has medical services ready in case of emergency. The medical facility of KJO is equipped with modern technologies and trained nurses and doctors (KJO, 2006). The company also has a program for employees that empower them to share their views and opinions on health and safety issues in the company.
KJO also takes importance in monitoring and preventing oil spills. The following are the "spill readiness" strategy of KJO: ensure that company response to oil spills is prompt, efficient and cost-effective; ensure company readiness and response to oil spills through training courses and drills; monitor, evaluate and advise on national and international oil spill legislation; assure the continual development and update of oil spill contingency plans; to analyze the environmental impacts during an oil spill and to advise on the most suitable response option to be applied; and perform routine (and during oil spills) inspection duties in the offshore area and the beach areas. The company also implements a waste management plan on spills, as well as initiatives on preventing air and water pollution (KJO, 2006).
Another oil and gas company in
In terms of waste management, Saudi Aramco has constructed several industrial waste treatment plants, which include separators to treat oily water, landfarms to treat oily sludge, dedicated asbestos disposal areas, and on-site oxidation of pyrophoric waste (Saudi Arabian Oil Company, 2006). The company also invests on recyling and contingency plans to prevent oil spills. Also, like KJO, Saudi Aramco takes importance on the air and water conditions in its vicinity. Air and water pollution plans are also being implemented to ensure that employees are free from the dangers that be brought by such pollutions.
Al Khafji Joint Operations (2006). Online, Available at: http://www.kjo.com.sa [Accessed: 03/29/07].
Fuller, C.W. and Vassie, L.H. (2001). Benchmarking the safety climates of employees and contractors working within a partnership arrangement: A case study in the offshore oil industry. Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol.8, No.5; pp.413-430.
Markussen, R.W. (2003). Occupational and Public Health Issues in the Oil and Gas Industry: Emerging Trends and Needs for Emphasis (online). Available at: http://www.touchbriefings.com/pdf/25/westmark.pdf [Accessed: 03/10/06].
Saudi Aramco (2006). Online, Available at: http://www.saudiaramco.com [Accessed: 03/29/06].
Verma, D.A., Johnson, D.M. and McLean, J.D. (2000). Benzene and total hydrocarbon exposures in the upstream petroleum oil and gas industry. AIHAJ, Vol.61, No.2; pp.255-63.