With oil prices gradually rising in recent weeks, oil production sites that were shuttered during the industry downturn finally are gearing up again for operation, perhaps marking an end to an extended slump in the oil market. As oil companies react to these improving conditions, more remote workers will be driving hundreds of miles weekly on back roads in rural areas to work on compressor stations, pipelines, and pump jacks. It is a fact of life for thousands of workers in the oil and gas industry.
These workers also present a challenge for their employers. On the job, they face a host of occupational hazards such as slips and falls, electrocution, falling objects, cuts and burns, and toxic and flammable gas exposure, any of which could seriously injure or kill them. Because they work remotely, it is difficult for employers to monitor their safety and take appropriate action if necessary.
Cloud-based computing and wireless, mobile technology have created a new era of safety for lone workers, going beyond current safety standards. With today’s connected technology, safety managers now can receive a constant stream of real-time data on a lone worker’s exact location as well as their biophysical and atmospheric conditions, and can monitor their safety and initiate or assist with decisive or preemptive safety actions like never before, from anywhere in the world.
Being “out of sight” and even potentially “out of touch” places remote lone workers at risks beyond those faced by their work-based colleagues—even when remote workers are armed with added personal safety measures.