“OSHA’s policy for citing the general industry standard for personal protective equipment (PPE), 29 CFR 1910.132(a), for the failure to provide and use flame-resistant clothing (FRC) in oil and gas well drilling, servicing, and production-related operations. For the purpose of this memo, FRC includes both flame-resistant and fire retardant treated clothing. Clarification of the need to provide and use FRC during certain drilling, servicing, and production-related operations is necessary to resolve its inconsistent use among drilling contractors, well servicing contractors, and oil and gas companies that employ thousands of workers in these operations. OSHA inspection history and current information, including consensus standards, scientific evidence, and accident and injury data, indicate a potential for flash fires during certain well drilling, servicing, and production-related operations….
Citation Guidance for 29 CFR 1910.132(a)
Where appropriate, CSHOs shall cite 29 CFR 1910.132(a) for the failure to provide and ensure the use of FRC in oil and gas drilling, well servicing, or production-related operations when there is a potential for flash fire hazards as discussed below.
FRC is usually not needed during initial rig up and normal drilling operations prior to reaching active hydrocarbon zones, unless other activities warrant their use; e.g., fracing a previously drilled well while rigging a well in close proximity.
A potential for flash fire exists once active gas or hydrocarbon zones are reached. Appropriate FRC shall be worn by exposed employees working on the well site prior to drilling into identified gas or hydrocarbon zones. CSHOs should verify that employees are wearing FRC in advance of reaching such zones.
Appropriate FRC should also be worn when there is a history of fluid or gas kicks from underground producing zones.
Once FRC is identified for use as provided above, employees should wear appropriate FRC until the final casing is cemented and the well is effectively closed.
Well Servicing Operations
CSHOs shall determine whether FRC is provided and worn during well servicing or workover operations, such as:
Pulling wet string tubing
Fracturing or perforating the well
Using bridge plugs or packers
Open hole work
Flow testing, blowing down or venting the well
Plugging an abandoned well
Any operation working with wellhead or wellbore under pressure
In OSHA’s experience, the potential for flash fire also exists in production-related operations that fall outside of drilling and well servicing. CSHOs shall determine whether FRC is provided and worn during production-related operations, such as:
Equipment openings (e.g., line breaking or valve changes)
Transfer of hydrocarbons
Maintenance operations on production equipment
Hot work operations
Using open flame
Start-up operations” Continue reading